Supplementary memorandum by NEA
NEA'S WORK WITH LOCAL AUTHORITIES
1. NEA regards local authorities as the key agents in the local delivery of the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy and the co-ordination of the delivery of the various energy efficiency schemes at a local level.
2. There are approximately 350 local authorities with a housing responsibility in England. NEA has developed affordable warmth strategies with almost 10 per cent of these authorities. The strategy development process involves the active involvement of all the key sections of the authorities, together with the relevant external organisations and individuals in each area. In this way the strategy reflects local needs and priorities and there is an understanding of and commitment to its aims and objectives.
3. NEA is also currently seeking funding to develop an affordable warmth tool kit to assist local authorities to deliver their strategies.
4. NEA is also in discussion with the National Assembly for Wales to instigate a three-year programme to develop affordable warmth strategies with all 22 local authorities in Wales.
DECENT HOME STANDARD
5. The Decent Homes Standard which includes an energy efficiency element, was identified in the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy as the key to ensuring that all social housing tenants were removed from fuel poverty by 2010. By that date, all local authorities properties are to be brought up to the Decent Homes Standard. In the initial consultation on the standard the energy efficiency element was to be that properties were affordable for their tenants to heat. This has been reduced to a set of physical requirements. For example a gas heated property will meet the standard if it has a central heating system with controls and 50mms of loft insulation. This is irrespective of the age and efficiency of the system and the 50mm of loft insulation is also significantly less than current building regulations and less than that provided by Warm Front (200mm).
6. It is NEA's view that many of the almost 1 million social housing tenants who are in fuel poverty, already live in properties which meet the Decent Homes Standard. This is borne out by analysis of the data from the Stockton Warm Zone. Of the 2,528 Stockton Borough Council tenants identified to date as fuel poor, 989 (39 per cent) live in properties which meet the energy efficiency standards contained in the Standard. Clearly the introduction of the Standard, on its own, will not ensure the eradication of fuel poverty in the social housing sector.