20 Jun 2023
Bringing groups from the Marches together to discuss retrofit and next steps for the region
The Energy and Buildings Group of South Shropshire Climate Action organized a Consultation on Tuesday 20th June at the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre in Craven Arms. The purpose was to improve co-operation between the different groups offering retrofit services across the Marches, and those attending represented Shropshire Council, Herefordshire Green Network, Marches Energy Agency, Lightfoot, Telford Climate Action, Sustainable Bridgnorth, Stretton Climate Care and environmental groups in Broseley, Clun and Market Drayton. Two of those attending are also elected members of Powys and Herefordshire Councils.
The day consisted of three workshops:
1. A Directory of Retrofit Providers and Specialists. People who want to retrofit their homes need to know of contractors with the relevant skills and qualifications. At present, some organisations have their own lists based on local knowledge, though all have, of course, to emphasize that they cannot recommend these firms or accept liability for any work carried out. It was agreed that a Marches-wide list should be produced, prefaced by a list of questions which customers should ask before any contractor is employed. A small group will take this forward over the coming weeks.
2. Grants and Funding. Tony Baker of MEA described the current Government funding schemes available to householders (Boiler Upgrade Scheme, Great British Insulation Scheme and the Home Upgrade Grant - the latter being restricted to households on means-tested benefits or with an annual income of less than £31,000). We also discussed a proposed Lottery Fund application for a scheme to insulate individual rooms within houses.
3. Household Energy Surveys. These can take two forms of different levels of complexity, depending on whether the aim is to measure the household’s existing carbon footprint or to prepare the house for a retrofit programme. Presentations were made by Stretton Climate Care, Lightfoot and MEA. Rob Narraway gave a demonstration of a Thermal Imaging Camera, and the use of the Retrofit Roadshow Van was described. The cost of the various schemes was discussed, and training will be offered to newly formed community groups.
It was generally agreed to have been a useful day in co-ordinating the efforts of the various agencies across our region.