HUNDREDS of households in Tewkesbury borough that do not currently have central heating may be eligible for a grant of up to £4,000 to have a new system installed.

Tewkesbury Borough Council, along with the other five district councils in the county and South Gloucestershire, has been awarded a share of £25 million government funding to help residents to keep their houses warm and lower their energy bills.

Councillor Jim Mason, Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment, said: “Fuel poverty is a very real problem for those who do not have central heating and, instead, use expensive electrical or solid fuel appliances to heat their homes. I would encourage anyone without an energy-efficient central heating system to get in touch with the council to check if they are eligible for a grant to install one, which doesn’t have to be paid back. Hopefully this will help lower bills for the householder and will help eradicate fuel poverty.”

The scheme, run by Warm and Well, is predominantly aimed at properties that are currently heated by costly 'on peak' electric systems, although the replacement of other forms of heating systems will also be considered. The aim is to replace these with modern energy efficient condensing boilers, which could save a household on average £250 a year, based on a family in a three bed semi-detached house.

It is estimated up to 1,000 homes could be installed with new heating systems across Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire with the government funding.

There are qualifying criteria for the scheme and if households are either in receipt of certain benefits or have considerably high fuel bills in comparison to their household income then they may be eligible.

Alex Baxter, manager of the Warm and Well scheme, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to get central heating systems installed in hundreds of homes in Tewkesbury borough that are finding it difficult to afford to pay for more expensive forms of energy such as electricity and solid fuel. Households most at need will be targeted first with the funding so that their homes are warmer and cheaper to heat”.

Unfortunately, properties that have an existing central heating system, even if not working, are not eligible for funding through the scheme. If the property is using night storage heaters, it must be only heating a maximum of 50% of the home to qualify.

Anyone considering installing a central heating system should also ensure that their home is insulated. Householders may be entitled to a grant for cavity wall and loft insulation through the Warm and Well scheme, which can save £160 per year on fuel bills. All grants are subject to a survey and availability.

Further information and energy efficiency advice is available by calling the Warm and Well advice line on 0800 500 3076, by emailing warm& or by texting ‘WARM’ to 83010.