Department of Energy & Climate Change officials visited Bradford's Holme Wood Estate in order to examine the challenges that face the occupants of some of the poorest housing stock in the UK, and the solid wall insulation solutions available to them.
In an event organised by the National Insulation Association (NIA) and its member Hamilton (Building Contractors) Ltd , members of DECC's Household Energy Efficiency and Fuel Poverty teams went to the heart of the estate to see housing both before, during and after the installation of external wall insulation, while also assessing the differences between today's systems and those of 25 years ago.
The group also had the chance to talk with local community leaders and residents to discuss the issues they face on a day to day basis and how the installation of external wall insulation has made a huge difference to their lives.
"Fuel Poverty affects millions of households in the UK and the situation can occur in all areas and demographics of the countr," said chief executive officer of the NIA, Neil Marshall. "However, this can be particularly prevalent in poorly maintained housing and the types of private rented and owner occupied properties found in inner cities.
"The Holme Wood Estate in Bradford is an example of fuel poverty and poor insulation at its most extreme. But, as can be seen with this on-site examination of the problems, steps are being taken to meet the challenges and address the situation."
DECC are currently thinking about their future policy options for ECO, and NIA was pleased to have offered the teams a number of useful insights from Bradford Council about the challenges around fuel poverty and what can be done to help overcome them.
Daniel Mackie, business development director from Hamilton (Building Contractors) Ltd said: "Hamilton's are delighted to be working with the NIA and DECC to help to create policies that can be introduced to tackle the growing problem of fuel poverty in solid walled homes in the private sector".
Daniel also added "For 20 years, we have been delivering the benefits of external wall Insulation to homes such as these in Holme Wood, with the socially owned properties being the first to benefit through schemes like decent homes. Now though, those left living in thermally in-efficient properties, are generally in the private sector and more needs to be done to support those most in need, those in fuel poverty. Hopefully days like today can play a part in shaping that support."
Local resident, Mr Ali, who has external wall insulation fitted to his home, said: "I had my house done a few months ago and I've already seen the benefits. It's so much warmer and I'm not spending half as much to get it even warmer than I used to be able to. I know that my neighbours that haven't had theirs done are desperate, especially now winter is on the way."