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Kettering Borough Council HECA Report

April 2019

Aims and Purpose

This report has been produced to comply with the requirements of the Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA) 1995. The Act requires local authorities to submit two-yearly reports to the Secretary of State demonstrating what energy conservation measures have been adopted to improve the energy efficiency of residential accommodation. This covers measures to improve properties in the owner-occupier, private rented and social rented sectors.

In an effort to improve HECA reporting rates, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are trialling a new online reporting system for the 2019 submissions which involves answering a set of questions on a number of key themes. This report has been produced to amalgamate the digital reporting questions required by BEIS with background information in order to publish a complete summary.  

Organisation Information

Kettering borough is one of seven districts within the county of Northamptonshire. The borough contains four market towns, Kettering (the largest), Desborough, Rothwell and Burton Latimer and twenty seven villages. The 2011 census shows that the approximate population of the borough was 93,000 with approximately 55,000 living within the town of Kettering.

There is good access to road links, in particular the A14 which provides links to the M1, M6 and A1 as well as a good network of other main roads. A major rail line is accessible at Kettering, which provides a fast service (one hour) to London St. Pancras International.

Partnership Working

Kettering Borough Council works in partnership with a number of organisations on energy efficiency matters including -

  • Northants Warm Homes Partnership (NWHP)

  • Northants Climate Change Officers Group (NCCOG)

  • East Midlans Association for Local Energy Officers (ALEO)

BEIS Reporting Questions

The Council’s official responses to these questions have been submitted via the online digital platform and are reproduced below.

Headline and Overview Questions

1. Does your Local Authority have a current strategy on carbon reduction and/or energy efficiency for domestic or non-domestic properties?

We do not have a specific strategy on carbon reduction and/or energy efficiency for domestic or non-domestic properties but other corporate strategies cover these topics.

If yes, please provide a link to your current strategy here:

http://www.nnjpdu.org.uk/publications/adopted-north-northamptonshire-joint-core-strategy-2011-2031/

A copy of the KBC Housing Strategy 2015-20 can be requested by email housingstrategy@kettering.gov.uk

2. If no, are you planning to develop one?

N/A

3. What scheme(s) has your local authority implemented (or planning to implement) in support of energy saving/carbon reduction in residential accommodation (such as owner-occupied, privately rented and social housing) or non-domestic properties since 2017?

Northamptonshire Energy Saving Service (NESS) is a three-year project funded by National Grid's Warm Homes Fund to help address fuel poverty in Northamptonshire. Further information can be found via the following link: https://www3.northamptonshire.gov.uk/councilservices/environment-and-planning/energy-and-carbon-management/Pages/northamptonshire-energy-saving-service-ness.aspx

The Burton Wold Community Fund delivers energy efficiency projects and education to residents and community groups within the electoral ward of Burton Latimer.

Within our own housing stock we have continued to deliver our Homes for the Future project. This involves installing a variety of energy saving/carbon reduction measures such as external wall insulation and air source heat pump communal heating to some of our oldest properties.

Northamptonshire was successful in receiving an award of £3.9 million over three years from the Warm Homes Fund at the end of 2018. This award will be used to install first time gas central heating across the County to eligible households. Within our own stock, we will continue to deliver our Homes for the Future scheme, that will see the installation of a variety of energy saving/carbon reduction measures to one of our oldest blocks of flats. We will continue to refer households to the Northamptonshire Energy Saving Service (NESS) for domestic energy advice.

4. What has been, or will be, the cost(s) of the scheme(s)?

Kettering Borough Council have budgeted £75,000 over three years to contribute towards the Warm Homes Fund first time gas central heating grant for eligible homes in the borough. This will cover approximately 25% of the cost of the installation.

5. What businesses, charities, third sector organisations or other stakeholders do you work with to deliver the scheme(s)?

The Northamptonshire Warm Homes Fund will be delivered in partnership with Corby Borough Council, Surefire Management Services and Agility ECO. Northamptonshire Energy Saving Service is delivered by Citizens Advice Services Corby and Kettering. The Council's Homes for the Future scheme has used a number of local and national contractors to deliver the programme.

6. What has been the outcome of the scheme(s) (e.g. energy savings, carbon savings, economic impacts such as job creation and/or increased business competitiveness, social impacts such as alleviation of fuel poverty and/or improved health outcomes etc.)?

We are yet to commence the Northamptonshire Warm Homes Fund first time gas central heating installation programme, therefore there are no results to report at the moment. Within our own stock that has undergone the Homes for the Future improvement works, tenants have on average seen a 30% reduction in their heating bills.

7. What lessons have you learned from delivering this scheme(s)?

Delivering our Homes for the Future scheme has shown us that the process of obtaining funding for energy efficiency retrofit works to residential properties is complex and time consuming. The availability of funding fluctuates significantly, often within short timescales,

Local Communications Strategy

8. Does your local authority provide any advisory service to consumers (and businesses) on how to save energy?

Yes.

9. If yes, please briefly outline how this is undertaken

As mentioned in 3, Northamptonshire Energy Saving Service (NESS) is a three-year project funded by National Grid's Warm Homes Fund to help address fuel poverty in Northamptonshire. It offers:

  • An Energy Comparison Review (A free and impartial review of householders’ current energy supply to show potential cost savings and/or better deals)

  • A Home Energy Assessment (Improve the comfort of homes with practical measures to reduce energy consumption)

  • A financial health check (Ensures household finances are in their best shape, including advice and assistance with eligibility and applying for grants, benefits or allowances, and/or assistance to help householders manage any debts)

  • An Information and Advice Pack (To help save money and reduce utility bills)

  • Gas safety checks, servicing and minor boiler repairs

10. How do you communicate or encourage energy saving amongst domestic consumers and/or local businesses?

We refer to Northamptonshire Energy Saving Service. Kettering Borough Council tenants also receive information through the Council's quarterly tenant magazine and via information packs provided at properties. Further advice is available via our website and though social media.

Local Green Supply Chains

11. Does your Local Authority promote the use of energy efficient products amongst consumers (and businesses)?

Yes

12. If yes to question 11, please briefly detail how this promotion work is undertaken.

We run articles in Connect, our tenant and leaseholders magazine periodically. In addition we provide new tenant education packages and demonstrations when they move into our Homes for the Future properties.

Through Enterprise Kettering, our business support website, we promote energy efficiency initiatives as these arise. For example, we are currently promoting Energy Entrepreneurs Fund which is a government run competitive funding scheme to support development of technologies, products and process in energy efficiency. We are also promoting a free Workshop ‘Cutting Energy Costs’.

In Kettering Borough Council owned properties when procuring new boilers we always specify to those quoting that new boilers are A rated and comply with new boiler plus standards.

13. What engagement (formal or informal) does your local authority have with local business/supply chains involved in promoting energy efficiency products or carbon reduction?

We include energy efficiency products and carbon reduction requirements in our project specification requirements to contractors that work on our stock.

Domestic Private Rented Sector (PRS) Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

14. Is your authority aware of the PRS Minimum Efficiency Standards which came into force in April 2018?

Yes.

15. Which team within your authority is responsible for, or will be responsible for, leading on enforcement of the PRS minimum standard? And what are their contact details?

Northamptonshire Trading Standards (based at Northamptonshire County Council) and Kettering Borough Council's Private Sector Housing team take a joint lead approach to this. Trading Standards lead on cases that involve a Letting Agent/portfolio landlords, while Private Sector Housing lead on cases with an individual landlord.

Kettering Borough Council, Private Sector Housing team contact is:

Lyndsey Bellchambers
Private Sector Housing Manager
lyndseybellchambers@kettering.gov.uk
01536 534180

Northamptonshire County Council, Trading Standards team contact is:
Carol Gamble
cgamble@northamptonshire.gov.uk

16. What method or methods does your authority use to communicate with landlords and tenants about the standards and other related issues?

Information on MEES is provided on Kettering Borough Council's website. Information is provided to landlords at landlord forums in the form of presentations and leaflets.

17. Do you directly target landlords of EPC F and G rated properties?

Yes.

18. If yes, how, if no, please explain

The Council takes a proactive approach to looking for Private Rented Sector properties with F or G rated properties. It does this in a variety of different ways. Firstly, all properties that are used to house customers that are homeless or threatened with homelessness are inspected by Private Sector Housing to ensure they are free from hazards. This would include making sure that the EPC was an E or above. If it is not then the Council would work with the landlord to either improve the rating or ensure that it is added to the exemption register. Secondly, all Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) that require a licence are required to provide a copy of their EPC and for those that are below an E rating the Private Sector Housing team work with the landlord to either improve the rating or register on the exemption register before granting a licence. Thirdly, all housing condition complaints received from private sector tenants result in an EPC check with action taken where landlords are found to have let a property with an F or G rating.

Financial Support for Energy Efficiency

19. What financial programmes, if any, do you have to promote domestic and non-domestic energy efficiency or energy saving? If applicable, please outline the sums, where such funding is sourced, and where it is targeted.

The only financial programmes that we offer is the top up grant funding of up to £1,000 for eligible households who qualify for the first time gas central heating grant through the Northamptonshire Warm Homes Fund and the Burton Wold Community Fund which has a flexible grant limit. Details of this can be found via the following link: https://www.kettering.gov.uk/info/20048/community_and_living/12099/burton_wold_community_fund/2

Fuel Poverty

20. Does your local authority have a fuel poverty strategy?

No. However, Kettering Borough Council is a member of the Countywide Northamptonshire Warm Homes partnership who have an annual work plan in place to reduce fuel poverty across the county.

21. What steps have you taken to identify resident/properties in fuel poverty?

As part of the Warm Homes Fund bid, data published by BEIS was used to establish the likely numbers of households that could be helped with first time central heating.

22. How does fuel poverty interlink with your local authority's overall carbon reduction strategy?

Kettering Borough Council does not have a carbon reduction strategy, however projects such as the first time central heating grant and Homes for the Future show our commitment to reducing fuel poverty and with it carbon reduction.

23. What measures or initiatives have you taken to promote fuel cost reduction for those in fuel poverty? And if so what partnership with business or energy providers have you undertaken?

Kettering Borough Council launched Kettering Borough Switch to Save last year, a collective energy switching scheme, in addition to Northamptonshire Energy Saving Service and the first time gas central heating grant.

Kettering Borough Switch to Save is provided by iChoosr. The scheme had an initial marketing budget of £5,000. However, for every successful duel fuel switch that occurs Kettering Borough Council receives £11. This money will be used to help make the scheme self-sufficient in the future. Those residents who switched in the first round of the scheme saved an average of £132 a year on their energy bill.

The Energy Company Obligation

24.Has your local authority published a Statement of Intent (SOI) for ECO flexibility eligibility?

Yes, it is available here: https://www.northantswarmhomes.com/files/2018/09/NWHP-SoI-FINAL.pdf

25. Please use the following space to provide any further information you feel might be of benefit to BEIS, in helping us to understand ECO Flex delivery in more detail. For example, the number of declarations signed versus the number of households helped.

No data is available at present.

Smart Metering

26. Please provide a brief statement outlining your current or planned approach to: Engage and support your residents (including those in vulnerable circumstances or with pre-payment metering) to promote take up of smart meters and achieve associated benefits (e.g. ability to control energy use, identify best value tariffs)? Please detail any work undertaken or planned with local/community groups, housing associations, micro businesses, Smart Energy GB under their Partnership Programme and energy suppliers.

We will run an article in our Connect magazine in the next 12 months, to promote the benefits of smart meter take up and promoting the Council’s Switch 2 Save Scheme. We will provide assistance to any tenants that contact us as a result of this article. As part of the Northants Warm Homes first time central heating grant we will also promote smart meters and switching tariffs to eligible households.

27. Please provide a brief statement outlining your current or planned approach to: Integrate your approaches to delivering energy efficiency improvements in residential accommodation with the opportunities presented by the installation of smart meters, drawing upon materials from the Smart Meter Energy Efficiency Materials Project or other sources of independent information

In addition to our response to question 27, we will also continue our Homes for the Future programme over the next two years which will continue to deliver innovative energy saving and cost reduction measures to future tenants. The Northants Warm Homes first time central heating grant will also provide the same benefits to owner-occupiers and private renters over the next three years.

28. Please detail any: Resources/support (e.g. services, funding) available to residents who have had an appliance(s) condemned for safety reasons and cannot afford to replace it (e.g. during visual safety checks conducted during their smart meter installation or otherwise).

None that we are aware of.

29. Please detail any: Existing relationships with energy suppliers to help ensure that the opportunities presented by vacant properties under your control are effectively utilised (i.e. gaining access to install a smart meter).

As part of the void process, we have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Energy Angels to fit smart meters in all Kettering Borough Council owned void properties (where practicably possible).

Future Schemes or Wider Initiatives

30. Please outline any future schemes or wider initiatives not covered above that your local authority has carried out or is planning to undertake to improve the energy efficiency of residential accommodation or businesses in your area, for example, within your Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Energy Strategy (if you do not plan any future schemes currently, please enter 'N/A').

Review of potential sites within the Kettering Town Centre Area Action Plan for residential opportunities to build using the latest green house building techniques such as SIP Technology, solar panels and heat pumps etc. Currently, we are researching the options that are potentially available based on having visited some local demo sites that are employing these building processes and technology into residential new builds.