Opinion Former Article

NEA congratulates ground-breaking Kirklees Warm Zone scheme on awards success

National Energy Action (NEA), the UK's leading fuel poverty charity, has congratulated Kirklees Council and its partners on its success at the 2009 Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy.

Kirklees Council won the local authority category of the awards for delivery of the Kirklees Warm Zone. Representatives from the council picked up their award from HRH Prince Charles at a ceremony held in London.

The awards judges praised the "massive scale and rapid roll-out" of the scheme and said it was delivering sustainable results.

Kirklees Warm Zone is unique as it offers free cavity wall and loft insulation to all suitable homes across Kirklees, irrespective of householder income.

To date around 30,000 houses in the area have received insulation measures. A range of other services, such as benefit and debt advice, energy efficiency advice, a free carbon monoxide detector and fire safety checks are offered through its partner organisations.

The scheme benefits local residents in many different ways, for example saving them an average of £200 per year on their fuel bills, improving their health and wellbeing, creating local jobs and reducing district carbon emissions.

WZcic has supported the development and delivery of this Warm Zone since 2005. WZcic is a community interest company, wholly owned by NEA, which supports a number of regional Warm Zone schemes across the UK.

The company operates as a not-for-profit, social enterprise, delivering packages of energy efficiency and carbon saving improvements and related services to low income and other vulnerable households in the areas in which it operates.

NEA chief executive Jenny Saunders said: "This award shows how well-regarded the Warm Zones model is and how well Kirklees Council manage the project. Its local approach is really paying dividends and helping people out of fuel poverty.

"The work in Kirklees has been a particular success, but results in other areas across the country are proving equally as positive."

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