The Group Manager – Economy, Natural Resources and Sustainability presented a report, the purpose of which, was to present to, and confirm approval from Cabinet for Bridgend County Borough Council’s support for a Welsh Government project to improve the energy efficiency of domestic properties within Bridgend County Borough.
He explained that Welsh Government (WG) has operated 3 phases of its domestic energy efficiency programme since 2009. The detail of these phases, including the level of investment and benefits of the schemes, was previously reported to Cabinet in April 2019.
The current phase of the programme, Phase 3, will run from 2018 – 2023 and seeks to invest £54m over this period into over 6,000 homes in areas where fuel poverty is prevalent. The funding for the programme will come from ERDF, WG and energy supply company sources through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). The primary focus of the programme was to reduce fuel poverty.
He explained that Welsh Government were now ready to launch the phase 3 Programme in Bridgend. It will be delivered by Arbed am Byth, which is a joint venture company between Everwarm and the Energy Saving Trust. Arbed am Byth would work with BCBC, building on the existing partnership approach to deliver the Smart Energy Plan, to identify areas of fuel poverty where the programme could have maximum impact. Arbed am Byth, as the Scheme Manager, will manage the programme from the beginning to the end and will identify and develop the schemes through the development of local relationships with stakeholders and supply chains.
To date, the Scheme Manager had carried out a high level mapping exercise of potential areas within Bridgend County Borough, where the Welsh Government Programme could have maximum impact and two areas have been identified (these will require further discussion to agree actual boundaries and areas to be considered). The two initial areas were Ogmore Valley and Porthcawl (East).
The process of accessing support once an area location had been decided, would require the Scheme Manager to carry out an assessment of each property and design a package of works that could improve the energy efficiency of the home. The measures that could receive funding through the programme were exampled in paragraph 4.4 of the report.
The Group Manager – Economy, Natural Resources and Sustainability stated that the funding caps established for the programme by WG have been set at:
• Up to £5,000 for on-gas E rated properties
• Up to £8,000 for on-gas F & G rated properties
• Up to £8,000 for off-gas E rated properties
• Up to £12,000 for off-gas rated F & G properties
Unlike the previous phases of this programme, BCBC would not be required to prepare bids, manage grant payments, procure contractors etc. This will be undertaken by Welsh Government. The role of BCBC will be substantially reduced and instead will be to:
· Agree the area where the programme will be offered.
· Send out initial letters (drafted by Arbed am Byth) with residents names on them inviting them to engage in the programme and attend information events.
· Provide support at community engagement events.
The Cabinet Member – Communities noted that this was not a BCBC programme and he had some concerns therefore, that the Authority were in charge of administering this and that due to that, residents would think it was in fact a BCBC led project. BCBC would also not have full control of the work that would be undertaken as part of the project. He therefore felt that more information should be forthcoming, about BCBC’s exact role in the Scheme and how this affected our responsibilities to constituents who qualified for the work that would be carried on their properties.
The Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations supported the above, but added that the Scheme if it eventually was progressed, would improve energy efficiency in properties that needed this, particularly in deprived valley locations.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet welcomed the report but before progressing further requested written confirmation from Welsh Government in relation to the roles and responsibilities in relation to delivery and post-completion.