Summer may seem like an unusual time to think about winter heating bills, but that is exactly what Harrogate Borough Council is asking residents to do.
A scheme to help residents afford loft and cavity wall insulation is running throughout both the summer and winter months and the council is encouraging people to get improvements done now and not wait until the weather turns cold again.
Help is focused on eight council wards in the district as studies have shown that many households in these areas may struggle to keep their homes warm and healthy during the cold winter months. The areas are the following wards:
- Low Harrogate
- High Harrogate
- Ripon Minster
- Saltergate and
- New Park
Households in these areas with annual incomes below £20,000 a year could receive free loft and cavity wall insulation, whilst those with annual incomes between £20,000 and £35,000 could receive 75% towards the cost of the improvements. There's help available to landlords too if residents qualify.
In other parts of the borough, residents with low incomes and energy inefficient homes may also be able to receive help.
There is also an interest free loan for gas boiler replacement for homeowners with incomes below £20,000 per year living in fuel poverty or at risk from the cold.
The scheme is part of a programme funded by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. The Harrogate scheme is being managed by City of York Council, and interested residents can call York's Housing Standards and Adaptations team on 01904 552300.
£169,000 is being provided for this scheme in the Harrogate district.
Councillor Mike Chambers, the council's cabinet member for Housing and Safer Communities, said: "It's easy to leave winter behind and not think about heating costs for a few months, but we really want as many people as possible to have improved insulation installed by the time winter comes around this year.
"We know that there are households in the district where people are living in fuel poverty and we hope this grant will help the most vulnerable live in homes that are healthy and that they can afford to keep warm."