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Improvements to social housing ‘stalled’ following ECO changes

Nearly one year on from the changes to the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) being announced, housing providers are struggling to make new retrofit schemes stack-up, according to Sustainable Homes.

The not-for-profit consultancy and research body said its members have reported a combination of much-reduced support from ECO funding.

SHIFT member Nottingham City Homes is undertaking work to retrofit three tower blocks in Sneinton, as well as an “area-based” scheme that enables both social and privately-owned homes to be treated of more than 2,000 1950s pre-fabricated homes in Clifton.

Sustainable Homes said uncertainty surrounding funding and changes to ECO meant that improvements such as these will be difficult, if not impossible, to replicate in the future.

Nottingham City Homes director of property services Steve Hale, who heads up the programme of works, said: “We have 6,000 solid wall homes left and are committed to insulating them all – and not many in the sector can say that. Our approach is ‘tenure-blind’ in partnership with the city council. 

“This is the efficient way to do it and creates a huge impact in the area – a win-win. But a lot of the funding that complements our investment and makes it go further is now geared to private residents only, which means the neighbourhood approach no longer works. Combined with the reductions in ECO, this means some of our tenants in most need will either have to wait longer or even miss out altogether on these much-needed improvements.”

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