Ambitious plans to insulate 1,200 draughty Bradford homes – and cut energy bills – are hanging by a thread after a Government U-turn.
Bradford Council is poised to dramatically downgrade the project after funding was slashed in what has been dubbed a “dirty deal with the energy companies”.
It had hoped to put in 1,600 energy efficiency improvements – in 1,200 homes across Bradford – including replacement boilers, as well as better insulation.
But the ‘b-warm’ project has hit trouble because of David Cameron’s controversial decision, last December, to remove some so-called ‘green levies’ from energy bills.
Under fierce pressure after Labour’s pledge to freeze bills, the Prime Minister was reported to have ordered aides to “get rid of all the green crap”.
As a result, the energy company obligation, an insulation scheme delivered by major energy suppliers, was cut back, taking £30 to £35 off bills.
However, Labour has now uncovered 49 schemes around the country – including the one in Bradford – which have been scrapped or put on hold, as a result.
The project started last September, but a Council spokesman said: “The scheme will go ahead, but new targets for the scheme are currently being revised.
“The number of properties that could be expected to benefit, and measures delivered, are likely to be significantly reduced.
“This will especially apply to targets for ‘hard to treat’ measures (such as solid wall insulation, or irregular cavities) that were to be a major part of the project”.
Across the UK, at least 54,000 homes will not now be insulated, according to Freedom of Information responses from 146 local authorities.