As wave 4 of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO4) rolls out across the country, Housing Industry Leaders speaks to Councillor Tom Ross, leader of Trafford Council and Portfolio Holder of the Green City Region in Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to learn how residents are benefitting from the scheme.
Those in the greatest need of warmer homes and lower energy bills are set to receive free home upgrades, including improved insulation, air source heat pumps, and solar PV panels.
Improveasy, a qualified installer with over a ten years’ experience in delivering home improvements, have been assigned to Trafford to deliver these measures through funding by the Energy Company Obligation Local Authority Flexible Eligibility Scheme (ECO4 LA Flex).
Under the government scheme, the Council can refer owner-occupiers and private tenants who are living in fuel poverty or with a total household income of under £31,000 to receive these upgrades, which will guard against the effects of living in a cold home.
Councillor Tom Ross told Housing Industry Leaders: “With the cost of living crisis, people up and down the country, including in Greater Manchester and Trafford, will have seen real pressure on their energy bills over the last couple of years.
If households qualify for this support, it will have a positive impact on their energy bills and hopefully stop people from having to make that horrible choice between heating and eating. We want to make sure people keep warm within their own homes.
Thanks to his roles across Trafford and GMCA, the Councillor also offered insight into how the city-region aim to meet their climate target: “The second crisis is the climate crisis, and from a combined authority level, we’ve obviously got a very, very bold target to be net zero by 2038.
“One of the biggest factors in helping us achieve that target would be domestic carbon output, and anything like this [scheme] that supports the retrofit of private households, whether they be people that hold a mortgage or private tenants, we feel make huge steps forward.”
Residents that don’t qualify for ECO4 can still access support from the council
Councillor Ross also explained that in cases where households don’t qualify for the scheme, the council will still offer advice on how to make their homes more energy efficient to lower energy bills.
“For those that don’t qualify for this scheme, this tranche of funding, we do have the Energy Advice Service that we’re looking to promote so people like myself can approach and have a look at accessing a survey in exchange for an amount of money.
“If you followed this up and took advice from the survey and have the means to do so, it could have a long term impact both on your carbon footprint and also your energy bills.”
In a proactive action to ensure help reaches where it is most needed, all residents in Trafford have received a letter urging them to check whether they qualify for the scheme.
Councillor Aidan Williams, Trafford Council Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “The ECO4 addresses two of the Council’s corporate priorities that we are passionate about tackling in Trafford – poverty and our climate crisis.
I would urge all residents to check whether they are eligible for this scheme. It’s free and could make a real difference to your future household bills, so there really is nothing to lose.
“If you’re not eligible for free help, and are able to pay for improvements to make your home more energy efficient, the Your Home Better scheme is also available to help you improve your home.”
Wave 4 of the scheme commenced on 31 July this year, and will continue to roll out until 31 March 2026.