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a million to be invested in lower fuel bills and warmer homes

Broadland District Council is to act as an East Anglia centre of excellence in promoting the government's new 'Green Deal' energy saving scheme and a suite of other projects worth more than £1 million.

Broadland's Climate Change officers led a bid for government funding with neighbouring authority South Norfolk Council.

The Energy Secretary, Edward Davey, announced this week that their bid has been successful and has attracted Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) funding of £269,500.

This money means that residents in Broadland and South Norfolk will be benefitting from investment to help people to keep their homes warm and their energy bills low. The funding included £232,000 of Green Deal Pioneer Places Funding which will be used for a range of projects all geared to spread awareness of the green technologies available under the government's Green Deal.

Planned projects include providing Parish Councils with Green Deal Awareness training and providing parish councils with a finder's fee for every household they refer for a Green Deal Assessment.

One business and one community building in each of the two local authority's areas - Broadland and South Norfolk with be given a free retrofit with energy saving measures in return for their owners or occupants becoming Green Deal ambassadors and allowing the buildings to be used to showcase the technologies and show people interested in taking up the Green Deal what is possible.

An Eco Van and trailer will tour the area visiting the heart of our communities acting as a mobile demonstrator of the available technologies and providing information on the Green Deal to the public.

£37,500 of the DECC funding will be used to operate a Collective Switching exercise across Broadland and South Norfolk. This will allow all residents in both districts to collectively switch their energy provider. The funding will be used to market this opportunity to householders that would benefit most from switching their energy providers (people in fuel poverty and/or those that have not switched energy provider recently). An auction will then be commissioned where energy providers quote to provide energy to residents that have registered their interest in switching. The lowest price quoted is then offered to participating residents. The funding will also be used to set up oil purchasing cooperatives in areas of both districts not currently covered by a cooperative. This will allow the collective purchasing of oil resulting in reduced prices through greater purchasing power achieved by the co-operatives.

Councillor John Fisher, Broadland District Council's Portfolio Holder for Environment said: "The team have also been successful in securing £337,900 funding from the European Regional Development Fund that will be added to £507,000 of previous government Eco Town funding to deliver demonstrator projects, covering 8 properties in Rackheath and Salhouse owned by Wherry Housing. Renewable materials and technologies will be used to achieve reductions in energy use and carbon emissions of up to 90% per property. This is a really exciting project which will act as a trial to discover the best ways to increase energy efficiency of older properties and identify best practices that can be used on over 50 million older, hard to heat properties in the UK.

"When you add in the DECC funding we have more than £1 million to invest in properties to demonstrate that we can all benefit by reducing our energy use, lowering our energy bills and reducing carbon emissions. The benefits of investing this money are almost exponential, householders and businesses will benefit by learning what is possible, local trades people will  fit the technologies, a green technology supply chain will develop and we will be addressing fuel poverty. This fits precisely with two of our core Business Plan priorities at Broadland – to achieve Economic success and Environmental Excellence and it just shows the opportunities there are for us to lead the way in Norfolk on pioneering new technologies and ensuring that it is our residents who receive tangible benefits for many years to come as a result."

South Norfolk Councillor Yvonne Bendle, Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Health said: "This substantial investment from the Government follows our successful joint bid and just as local councils came together to win this funding, so in practical terms we can help bring together residents to win cheaper energy deals using their collective power as consumers.

"More specifically, in South Norfolk the Green Deal initiative means we can transform a community centre and a building at one of our business parks into a modern, well insulated and energy efficient models of sustainability.

"This Government's pioneering Green Deal initiative has united with Norfolk's leading edge local councils, and thousands of people will benefit as a result."

Residents in Broadland or South Norfolk who would like more information about the Green Deal should contact the climate change team on 01603 430 627.

Released on 17/01/2013

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Broadland District Council
Thorpe Lodge
1 Yarmouth Road
Thorpe St Andrew
Norwich NR7 0DU
tel: 01603 430523
fax: 01603 430614