A £200,000 grant from the Scottish Government to help Shetlanders insulate their homes against the winter cold has been welcomed by Shetland Islands Council (SIC).
The £200,000 Shetland home insulation grant comes from a £12.5 million Universal Home Insulation Scheme (UHIS) fund. The grant is one part of a number of free home insulation measures aimed at improving household energy efficiency and reducing fuel poverty.
The money will provide free insulation for homes with “virgin lofts” and “virgin cavity walls” (houses with no existing cavity wall insulation) as well as improving insulation for fuel poverty homes i.e. homes where occupants spend more than 10 per cent of their annual income on heating.
Scotland’s fuel poverty national average is 28% but Shetland has an average of 35% of households qualifying as suffering from fuel poverty. On top of this, 13 per cent of households in Shetland suffer extreme fuel poverty (defined as spending 20 per cent or more of annual income on heating) compared to the national average for Scotland of 8%.
Highlands and Islands MSP Mike Mackenzie has welcomed the Scottish Government grants that will give free help to 200,000 families across Scotland. Mr Mackenzie said he was particularly pleased to see that Shetland is getting this help now with Shetlanders having such a ‘real problem’ and another winter approaching.
Mr Mackenzie said: “I agree with my colleague, cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment Alex Neil when he says with the onset of winter just round the corner, we need to support those most in need to help them heat their homes and stay energy efficient.”
SIC environmental health and trading standards manager Maggie Dunne said: “The best long-term solution to fuel poverty is to improve home insulation levels. We are sixth worst in all (Scottish) local authority areas and this can affect old people, young and anyone struggling to heat their homes.”
Anyone wishing to insulate their “virgin loft” spaces, or “virgin cavity walls” should contact Shetland Heatwise on (01595) 695081, while those believing they are in the fuel poverty category should contact the one stop shop run by Hjaltland Housing Association on (01595) 741368.
People who spend little or nothing on heat because they can’t afford it should also contact the Hjaltland Housing Association as they will apply the NHER rating system which can determine what a household would spend on heating bills if their home was properly heated.