Investment means it is going to get Warm up North

Hot property: Representatives from British Gas and Warm up North at the scheme's launch in County Durham.
Hot property: Representatives from British Gas and Warm up North at the scheme's launch in County Durham.
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SUNDERLAND is to share in a multimillion-pound investment to tackle fuel poverty – bringing 500 jobs across the North East.

Up to 50,000 households in Sunderland, and the seven other local authorities in the region, will benefit from the Warm up North scheme – the first of its kind in the UK.

Worth up to £200million, the British Gas scheme is aimed at tackling fuel poverty and reducing energy bills by replacing inefficient boilers, installing double glazing and better insulation.

Eligible homes could, as a result, save about £490 a year in energy bills and the scheme covers all types of ownership, including private and public buildings.

And it is a win-win situation as a varied workforce of about 500 will be needed, including 75 posts to manage the scheme.

“It’s a tremendous investment,” said Councillor Graeme Miller, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for health, housing and adult services. Local authorities have to be applauded for working with businesses. It will bring thousands of families quality heating.

“It’s very important to Sunderland. We have our allocation of housing that is not fuel efficient and good homes give good health so it’s a very important move to be involved in.”

Another local authority to take part is Durham County Council.

Cabinet member for economic regeneration, Coun Neil Foster, said: “Through the scheme householders on lower incomes and those in hard to treat properties – such as those without wall cavities – will receive help to make their homes more energy efficient.

“In County Durham, we have already seen how this kind of scheme can benefit residents following a successful project in Craghead to improve homes through measures such as the installation of external solid wall insulation and energy efficient heating.”

Warm Up North is the largest and most advanced example in the country of a regional response to the Government’s Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation initiatives.