Homes sign up to energy plan

Sixty households in Rackheath and Salhouse have enrolled on a programme aimed at making their homes more energy efficient and cutting carbon emissions.

The Rackheath eco-community carbon management programme was implemented by Broadland District Council as part of a package of measures linked with the proposed development of an eco-town.

While the future of the eco-town remains uncertain after the government scrapped regional planning targets, money for the energy-efficiency projects for existing homes in the area is safe.

There is �1m in government money for a 'retro-fitting' project, which offers energy-saving improvements to existing homes, such as cavity wall insulation, new boilers and draught-proofing, and �500,000 for the carbon management programme, which aims to collect data on energy, water and carbon consumption and encourage savings through behaviour change.

Some 900 homes are eligible to take part in the scheme. Householders will be able to have a free home energy perfromance survey.

Those whose homes are given an energy rating of below C will be able to claim the first �500 of the cost of improvements.

Interest-free loans of up to �10,000 will be available to cover costs beyond that. The loans will not have to be repaid until the home is sold.

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Broadland District Council's cabinet is due to hear a status report on the project when it meets on Tuesday.

John Fisher, portfolio holder for environmental policy development at the council, said: 'We're delighted to have attracted the funding to invest in existing homes.

'The work will be done by local contractors so will bring money into the local economy as well as benefitting householders. The scheme is only at the beginning but we're already had 60 people who've come forward to take part.

'It's also excellent to be working with the Low Carbon Innovation Centre (LCIC) at the University of East Anglia.

'The information we'll collect is very important and will benefit other schemes nationally.'

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