Highland Council Working Hard To Source New Avenues Of Funding To Help Families Experiencing Fuel Poverty
5th December 2023
Highland Council continues to explore external funding opportunities to help families in the region who experience disproportionately higher levels of fuel poverty than the rest of Scotland.
External funding is targeted at households classed as fuel and extreme fuel poor and is available Highland-wide.
Significant external grant funding is available to install energy efficiency measures which will:
improve properties Energy Performance (EPC) rating
reduce carbon footprint
potentially reduce heating costs
Members at today's (5 December 2023) Climate Change Committee noted and welcomed the fact the Council is continually reviewing external funding opportunities and working to maximise funding opportunities to support householders and explore the benefits from extensive upgrades to their homes (subject to eligibility and survey).
Chair of the Climate Change Committee, Cllr Karl Rosie, said: "External funding for domestic properties supports the delivery of energy efficiency measures to enable Highland households to reduce their carbon footprint and support the Council in achieving Net Zero."
He added: "Householder signup remains an issue for externally funded programmes in the region. One in three households in Scotland are in fuel poverty, this is across all tenures. Although funding is available to support those meeting eligibility requirements, there continue to be households falling through the cracks.
"The Council must look at all external funding opportunities available to deliver energy efficiency measures to private and social properties."
Further information regarding EES:ABS, including a short informative video and eligibility can be found on the Highland Council website , or call your local Home Energy Scotland advice centre free on 0808 808 2282.
Cllr Rosie added: "It is pleasing to note that the team continues to work with the Housing section, seeking opportunities to align the delivery of the EES:ABS programme and ECO4 funding with Housing Capital plans."
External funding is available from:
Energy Efficient Scotland: Area Based Scheme (EES:ABS)
SSE Renewable grants
Energy Company Obligation (ECO4)
ECO4 Flexible eligibility (ECO4 Flex) and;
Great British Insulation Scheme Flexible eligibility (GBIS Flex)
Highland councillors will meet on 29th February 2024 to agree the proposals set out in the papers published today. There has been a long period of public consultation on the proposals and although there are unpalatable suggestions they will balance the books.
Over £100m investment programme proposed as part of 3-year budget Highland council are about to use significant amounts of reserves to cover shortfalls in the budget for 24/25 and possibly 25/26. Despite pushing out big figures it disguises the cuts about to fall on Highland services.
A collaborative network of Head Teachers and Education Officers are working closely together with the goal of improving attainment and achievement in Highland primary schools. Cllr John Finlayson, Education Chair said: "It is essential that we have strong, consultation and communication strategies in place and there is effective and ongoing collaboration between our schools and our central education service.
The Highland Council is currently unable to confirm whether funding will be available to support the Wick-Aberdeen Public Service Obligation (PSO) after 31st March 2024. The funding for the PSO is currently provided on the basis of £1.3m annually, with £1m committed by the Scottish Government and £0.3m committed by The Highland Council.
The Chair of The Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee has announced that a 3-week trial of a thermal process for pothole repairs will be taking place. An external contractor, Thermal Road Repairs, has been appointed to undertake the trial before the end of the 2023/24 financial year.
Caithness Committee Members today (Monday 29 January 2024) considered and assessed applications submitted to the area's Community Regeneration Fund. Community Regeneration Funding is an umbrella term for a number of funds that are available for communities/organisations to access in Highland.
The Council at the Caithness Area Committee agree the roads budget for 2024/25 with exactly the same amount as for 2023/24. Clearly with rapidly increasing costs this will come nowhere near to maintaining the roads to even the poor condition they are now in.
A briefing has been provided to all members of the Council on an accounting flexibility introduced by Scottish Government and available to Councils to utilise in 2022/23 or 2023/24. A number of reports to Council in recent months have covered this topic, and a number of other Councils have utilised the flexibility in 2022/23 or are considering doing so in 2023/24.
The information provided is a summary of reports from operational staff and is intended to give a general indication of typical conditions in each area at a point in time. It is not intended to imply that any individual route is entirely snow and ice free and drivers must be aware that conditions can change rapidly and make their own assessment of conditions for travelling.
Weather is still hitting school transport services around the county. Wick Unfortunately we have made the decision to close the school tomorrow, Friday 19th January, due to the ongoing snowfall and hazardous road conditions.