The Minister’s visit followed his recent announcement of an extra £6.6m to help reduce the energy bills of householders in some of Wales’ most deprived areas.
The additional funding for the Welsh Government’s successful strategic energy scheme, arbed has seen extra money being invested in improving homes across Wales in areas including Flintshire, Blaenau Gwent, Ceredigion and Swansea.
The £6.6m has ensured that more than 1500 Welsh homes benefit from energy saving improvements such as external wall insulation, high efficiency, class A boilers and the transition to more efficient types of fuel.
The money has also helped to secure local training and job opportunities within the construction and renewable energy sectors in Wales.
In Swansea the additional funding has resulted in more than £600,000 being awarded to improve the energy efficiency of 200 homes owned by Family Housing Association. It has also ensured that householders who often struggle with paying their fuel bills enjoy warmer, easier to heat and more attractive homes.
Speaking about the additional funding, the Environment Minister said:
“Ensuring that Welsh homes are more energy efficient is vital if we are to successfully tackle fuel poverty and that is one of the key drivers of our successful energy efficiency scheme, arbed.
“It is great to be here in Port Tenant to see first hand the difference that arbed funding is making to less well off communities in Wales.
“Not only is it driving down fuel bills it is also helping us to reach some of the challenging carbon reduction targets set out in our Climate Change Strategy, as well as generating new job opportunities in areas of Wales that really need them.”
Nick Bennett, Group Chief Executive of Community Cymru Housing said:
“Fuel poverty is a huge problem for people across Wales, with an estimated one in four households in fuel poverty. With rising fuel prices, this trend looks set to continue to rise unless significant progress is made in improving the energy efficiency of housing in Wales.”
“CHC therefore welcomes the additional arbed funding as an improvement in the energy performance of registered social landlords (RSL) homes has the effect of reducing fuel poverty, reducing respiratory illnesses, decreasing carbon emissions whilst achieving significant regeneration outcomes by increasing local jobs and training opportunities.”
The first phase of arbed saw £30m being spent on improving Welsh homes. An additional £31m was also invested alongside the arbed budget, equating to a total investment of around £61m.
The Welsh Government will soon begin phase 2 of its arbed scheme, which is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund and will see a further £45m being invested in Welsh homes.