March 6th 2017, Croke Park, Dublin
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten has announced an expansion of Schemes to combat energy poverty.
Speaking at the Energy Action Fuel Poverty and Climate Action Conference 2017 this morning Minister Naughten said:
"Everyone deserves a home they can afford to heat and to light. But, regrettably some cannot. Many struggle to make ends meet. And among those who struggle hardest, too many live in homes that are sink holes for fuel poverty. Ending this inequality is a priority for me. Energy poverty is an environmental issue. It is an economic issue that blights lives. We are here today with the common purpose of combatting it. The Warmer Homes Scheme will remain the Government's primary energy efficiency support for those in energy poverty. I have secured a record level of funding for the progamme this year. I am announcing today that those people who meet the eligibility criteria for the Warmer Homes Scheme (in receipt of Fuel Allowance, Family Income Supplement or One Parent Family Payment) and are living in a home that is in particularly poor condition will be entitled to receive a new deep retrofit which will significantly upgrade their home free of charge. These deeper renovations will provide for solid wall insulation, mechanical ventilation systems and renewable heating solutions. In addition, those who previously received attic or loft insulation under the Scheme but did not have their cavity walls treated can be revisited to receive wall insulation now," stated Minister Naughten.
"Throughout this process, I am determined that we focus on those who don't have the means to invest any funds in their home. Cold damp housing is a breeding ground for poor health, especially chronic respiratory conditions. The Warmth and Wellbeing Scheme ensures better housing and better energy efficiency, delivers for better health outcomes, helps tackle fuel poverty and plays a part in the bigger agenda of climate change. The scheme was initially launched last year in Dublin 12 and Dublin 24 and targeted at over-55s. Thanks to significantly increased resources I extended the Scheme to new areas in Dublin 8, Dublin 10 and Dublin 22. Eligibility has been opened up to families with young children. I am announcing that the world renowned London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will undertake an evaluation of the Scheme. The aim is to publish world-class, peer reviewed research which can be used to enhance it and to ensure a wider rollout of the scheme across the country," added Minister Naughten.
Minister Naughten also announced that he will publish a consultation paper to look at minimum efficiency standards in the private rented sector. "I know the current rental market in Ireland is tough on tenants. The simple fact is that a person renting is more than twice as likely to live in a home with a poor energy efficiency rating than a homeowner. In the absence of Government intervention this will increase. We cannot allow a Strumpet City to re-emerge in the twenty first century," stated Minister Naughten.
Information on all Government Energy Efficiency Schemes can be found at The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland http://www.seai.ie/ or by calling 1800 250 204
The full speech can be accessed here.