Tower Hamlets mayor warms to the idea of ending winter fuel poverty crisis

Home visit to insulate properties in the East End and help end winter fuel poverty. Picture: James L

Home visit to insulate properties in the East End and help end winter fuel poverty. Picture: James Lincoln - Credit: James Lincoln/LBTH

Measures to insulate more households to prevent winter chills are being taken by Tower Hamlets Council with a ‘fuel poverty awareness’ project.

These include home visits by experts to see how houses and flats can be insulated better, how to switch to cheaper fuel supplies and to give advice on debt to avoid “fuel poverty”.

Nearly 400 households have already had ‘warmth visits’ over the last year in the East End where advisers help make properties more energy efficient and help insulate them better to save money and even replace old boilers.

“Fuel poverty is a real issue for some people,” Mayor John Biggs said. “They can face a choice between heating their home or eating—so we’re supporting our most vulnerable residents to keep warm this winter.”

Applications can be made for advisors to make home visits to help with draught-proofing, fitting radiator panels, chimney balloons, low-energy light bulbs and loft insulation, which reduces CO2 emissions. The scheme achieves average yearly savings of £81 for each person.

The council also runs the Tower Hamlets Energy Community Power project with the ‘big London energy switch’ scheme to reduce bills, using collective buying power to ensure gas and electricity providers offer the cheapest rates. The current fuel switching scheme is open until March 26 for registrations.

Deputy Mayor Rachel Blake, who’s responsible for the fuel scheme registration, said: “Some people are struggling, so we want to help them save money and make a difference to their quality of life and reduce emissions.”

The council expects to replace up to 170 old gas boilers over the next three years with upgraded controls, for leaseholders or freeholders who are on benefits. It also includes insulation, draught-proofing, radiator reflector panels and even replacing faulty radiators.

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Some companies can also get grants to reduce energy consumption by having renewable energy technologies installed to reduce carbon emissions and saving costs. Town hall grants of 50 per cent up to £5,000 are being made available for lighting, heating and replacement equipment.