East Devon is a signatory to the Nottingham declaration and the Devon wide declaration on Climate Change. Local authorities in Devon are in the process of joining Climate Local. The District adopted a ‘Climate Change Strategy’ in 2008 which included a range of actions in private and social housing and is currently completing an updated action plan for 2013 and beyond.
In 2011 the District has undertaken review of renewable energy resources which identifies that building scale renewable energy technologies, particularly biomass heating off the gas grid, have a potentially important role in reducing CO2 emissions.
The Local Home Condition Survey (HCS) shows that there are some 61,400 homes in the District of which 48,000 (78%) are owner occupied, 7,300 (12%) are privately rented and 1,800 (3%) are owned by housing associations and 4,300 (7%) by the Council. Private rented homes are the least energy efficient and housing association homes the most energy efficient.
The HECA Plan links into the ambitions and targets of the Local Plan, Council Plan, Homes and Communities Plan, Climate Change Strategy and Private Sector Housing Renewal Plan. The Council has expressed a clear and consistent commitment to improving energy efficiency and eliminating fuel poverty.
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The District’s domestic CO2 emissions reduced by 5% from 364kt 2005 to 346kt in 2010. Per capita emissions in 2010 are 2.6 t CO2/person; 4% higher than Devon (2.5) and 8% higher than nationally (2.4).
In 2010 DECC statistics show that 17.% of the District’s homes are fuel poor with pockets as high as 33% in rural off gas grid parts of the District.
29% of the District’s homes have solid walls with the proportion of solid wall homes rising as high as 86% in some localities. Some off gas grid areas have up to 68% solid wall properties.
ECO funded solid wall insulation therefore has a potentially important role in improving the thermal efficiency of the districts homes.
Overall, 22% of homes do not have gas and in these homes the high cost oil, LPG and electric heating makes fuel poverty more likely.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) may give the opportunity for these households to switch to lower cost renewable heating technologies with lower running costs. However, the success of the RHI will depend on the details of the scheme which are yet to be finalised by DECC.
Further detailed analysis of the relevant energy efficiency data will be undertaken to determine the potential for improvement and more challenging areas, and those areas where the Authority can have greatest impact.
The priority for the first two years of this Plan is to engage in suitable schemes which help the Fuel Poor in Hard to Treat properties in Rural Areas, off gas areas, and in the private rented sector.
The Housing Revenue Account Business Plan contains priorities for improving the energy efficiency of tenant’s homes.