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Housing associations at ‘leading edge’ in helping UK’s fuel poor

Housing associations are at the ‘leading edge’ of proposals to tackle England’s 2.3m households living in fuel poverty, according to a government report.

The Each Home Counts independent review by Dr Peter Bonfield into consumer advice and standards for energy efficiency and renewable energy highlights the role housing associations have in large scale energy efficiency programme delivery.

One of the UK’s largest housing associations Orbit, managing 40,000 homes, welcomes the recommendation for new partnership opportunities between housing associations and government. The report states that the sector will “collaborate with industry and government to ensure that the framework applies to the delivery of improvements in housing stock”.

With 11% of UK homes classified as fuel poor, Orbit launched its report Warm Homes, Better Lives last year to explore the role housing associations can play in tackling the poor energy efficiency of the country’s housing stock. The housing association has since worked with Dr Bonfield in shaping the housing sector’s role highlighted in the review.

Charley Gibbons, director of strategy and communication at Orbit, said: “We welcome the Bonfield Review as it seeks to embed an important set of standards beneath a complex web of policy, delivery and practice. We have worked with Dr Bonfield to explore the role housing associations can play in tackling the issue of fuel poverty.

“However, as Dr Peter Bonfield says, the publishing of his report is just the beginning. We now need to work together across the public and private sectors to make these recommendations a reality to support those families who are already the hardest hit in society.”

The report outlines a step change in tackling fuel poverty through a number of interventions, including investment schemes, creating greater consumer confidence in the quality of installers and empowering consumers to better understand the energy performance of their homes.