To consider the potential receipt of grant funding from BEIS via the North West Energy Hub for the Local Authority Delivery of the Green Homes Grant.
The Housing Portfolio Holder introduced the Local Authority Delivery Scheme for the Green Homes Grant report.
The Specialist (Housing Standards) informed Members that the Scheme aimed to build on the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme (which ended in March 2021) and was to be delivered by a consortium of Cumbria District Councils, led by Eden District Council. He explained that the proposal would include the services of a Retro Fit Coordinator and some administration costs, and would establish expertise to apply for future grant funding. The Specialist (Housing Standards) highlighted that should the consortium bid be successful, there was the potential to provide £716,000 of energy saving measures for residents of South Lakeland.
Discussion took place on the impact of an income threshold on the residents of South Lakeland with the scheme, the time constraints placed on anyone applying for Green Homes Grants under the scheme and on the lack of skilled contractors who could apply the improvements offered by the scheme. The Leader and Promoting South Lakeland and Innovation Portfolio Holder echoed Members concerns with the strain on the scheme and added that it was important to manage expectations of the scheme, particularly when considering the time constraints.
The Specialist (Housing Standards) informed Members that the scheme hoped to use EON as the main supplier who will source the contractors who are qualified for this work.
Further discussion raised a query relating to whether there had been any controls put in place to prevent people from using the scheme to improve their home for their own financial gain. The Specialist (Housing Standards) informed Members that there had not been any such controls put in place as the aim of the scheme was to improve homes with E, F and G energy efficiency ratings.
Members called for the government to improve the efficiency and reach of the Local Authority Delivery Scheme for the Green Homes Grant. Concern having being raised regarding the lack of local delivery options for the scheme, Members felt that local authorities could offer a great deal if powers were to be devolved to allow for local delivery of the scheme. In concluding the discussion, Members thanked officers for their hard work and commitment to the success of the scheme.
RESOLVED – That
(1) the proposal to participate in a consortium bid for grant funding from the Local Authority Delivery Scheme Phase 2 – Green Homes Grant (LAD2) North West Energy Hub via a consortium of Cumbria District Councils, in respect of the provision of energy efficiency measures be approved;
(2) subject to a successful consortium bid by Cumbria District Councils (including SLDC), acceptance by SLDC of its allocation of the grant funding awarded by North West Energy Hub LAD2 scheme in the sum of £716,000 be authorised, provided that if the actual sum of grant awarded to SLDC is more or less than £716,000 the difference will be reported as part of the Quarterly Finance Update Reporting; and
(3) subject to the award of grant funding under the LAD2 grant scheme, the Director of Customer and Commercial Services, in conjunction with the Operational Lead (People, Welfare and Income Maximisation) and the Legal, Governance and Democracy Lead Specialist (Monitoring Officer) be delegated authority, to enter into the appropriate agreements on behalf of the Council for receipt and administration of the grant funding in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Housing.
Reasons for Decision
Our four priorities for 2021 – 2026 includes a Fairer South Lakeland and Addressing the Climate Emergency. In delivering a Fairer South Lakeland – SLDC has committed to providing energy advice and additional support to households in fuel poverty.
In February 2019 SLDC declared a climate emergency. The Council seeks to maximise the social, economic and environmental benefits which come from combating and developing resilience to climate change and developing sustainability.
One of the targets is to reduce the percentage of homes in the lowest energy performance certificate bands E, F & G. This project will go some way towards both of these commitments.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
The Council could decide not to submit a bid through the consortium for the monies available but this is not recommended by BEIS. We could lose the opportunity for funding and would not be able to support the work to improve the energy efficiency of homes and reduce carbon emissions.
An alternative option is for the Council to submit its own bid and not work with the consortium, however, the Government made it clear that a consortium approach is the preferred route to access this funding and to increase the chance of success. Therefore, this is not recommended.