Home heating grant boost

The �6.5million scheme aims to tackle fuel poverty.

The �6.5million scheme aims to tackle fuel poverty.

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Residents in Northumberland are set to benefit from a new scheme that will see free central heating fitted to a number of homes without, or with only partial, central heating.

The £6.5million government grant is part of a nationwide Central Heating Fund scheme to tackle fuel poverty.

It was awarded to nine North East local authorities, including Northumberland County Council, with an emphasis on rural areas.

Residents who may be eligible for the fund will receive a letter with full information.

Coun Allan Hepple, cabinet member for economic growth at the county council, said: “Fuel poverty is a serious problem, particularly in rural areas like Northumberland, but by offering this support to residents we are able to improve the energy efficiency of our homes as well as residents’ general health and well-being.”

For more information about the scheme, visit www.northumberland.gov.uk/freeheating

Meanwhile, the council is calling on local MPs to help push for extra government support in the wake of recent flooding in parts of Northumberland.

While the government has provided funding for those affected by flooding from storms Desmond and Eva, it has rejected a request that additional money will be provided through the council for subsequent flooding incidents.

Council leader Grant Davey has written to Conservative MPs Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed constituency) and Guy Opperman (Hexham) to ask for their support.

He said: “In other parts of the country, such as Cumbria, the government is providing financial support to Highways England to repair their roads and bridges.

“We do not need assistance from Highways England – what we need is capital funding from government to enable the council to repair our infrastructure and rural road network damaged by the recent flooding, with costs currently estimated at more than £24million.

“It is essential that residents, businesses and visitors are able to travel freely around the county and are not faced with the prospect of additional costs and longer travelling times due to the damage to our transport network.”