Opinion Former Article

NEA: National energy action project wins top award

A National Energy Action (NEA) project designed to help people who live in park homes - sometimes referred to as residential caravans that are lived in all the year round - stay warm and pay their fuel bills during the winter months has been recognised with a national award.

NEA's Park Homes Campaign won the Key Project category of the Micropower Awards 2009 at a ceremony held last night. The judging panel described the project as "outstanding".

NEA is bringing equity to park home residents by developing heating improvements and lobbying for their inclusion in Government grant schemes.

People living in park homes are often older therefore more susceptible to the cold, have low fixed incomes and due to poorly insulated properties and expensive fuel types.

To compound the problem, they are excluded by the main fuel poverty and energy efficiency schemes - there are currently no measures in Warm Front to help them, and little help through CERT.

NEA carried out a number of pilot projects at park home sites in Nottinghamshire and Peterborough that involved fitting air source heat pumps and specially developed lightweight insulation systems. The project was funded by Scottish and Southern Energy, HeatKing and Mould Growth Consultants.

The work saw one older man reduce his fuel bill from £40 to £14 per week with a heat pump and a number of residents reduced their consumption by 50 per cent after insulation was fitted. This has lifted them out of fuel poverty and significantly improved their quality of life.

Following the success of the pilot project, NEA raised the issue with local MPs and is now lobbying for changes to the Warm Front Scheme to include park homes.

There are more than 2,000 park homes sites across the country, housing around 200,000 people.

NEA chief executive Jenny Saunders said: "Our work with people who live in park homes is a great example of how NEA can really make a difference. I'm delighted that we've been recognised with this prestigious award and would like to thank our sponsors for their support."

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