European funding secures energy upgrades for 60,000 Birmingham homes

Published:  06 July, 2012

New funding worth £1.3 million has been secured to help Birmingham City Council establish the next phase of a programme to equip 60,000 city homes with energy-saving measures such as new boilers, improved insulation and solar panels.

As well as contributing to setting up the programme, the funding will help cover the costs of feasibility studies and development activities to give the programme the best chance of success.

The European Investment Bank supports Birmingham’s procurement of a Green Deal provider and it is expected that the Birmingham initiative will encourage similar schemes by other local authorities in the UK and Europe. This grant from the European Union’s long-term lending institution was provided under the European Local Energy Assistance programme, managed on behalf of the European Commission’s Intelligent Energy Europe programme.

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart city, said: “By fitting homes across Birmingham with energy-saving measures we will be helping citizens, including some of the poorest, to save money on their domestic fuel bills – making a real difference to their day-to-day lives.

“Birmingham has higher rates of fuel poverty than any core city and the West Midlands has higher rates than any other region, so it’s vital we get on with equipping our homes with as many green measures as possible, as quickly as we can.

“Having previously received support from the government for our efforts, it is hugely encouraging to obtain backing from an organisation as renowned as the European Investment Bank.”

Simon Brooks, vice president of the European Investment Bank, said: “Energy efficiency is a priority for the EIB. The ELENA projects in Birmingham, supported by the EIB, will reduce heating costs and improve energy efficiency in homes across the city. We are delighted to work with Birmingham City Council on this initiative and keen to intensify our co-operation in this important sector with other cities in the UK.”

The BES programme will launch in October, at the same time as the government’s flagship Green Deal scheme.

Two pilot phases of BES have already seen 1,200 properties benefit, mainly from solar panels, but this transformational programme is designed to act as a springboard for the eventual retrofitting of energy saving measures on 200,000 homes in the city.

Pictured: Luciana Berger, Shadow Minister for Energy & Climate Change , talking to Northfield resident Abraham Weekes, (centre) and James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe & Smart City at Birmingham City Council. Weekes lives in the house (pictured behind) and has recently benefitted from exterior house covering, solar panels and energy efficient windows.