Moves to make city properties warmer
People across Bath could have their homes improved to make them warmer during winter in a bid to bring down the £3.8 million care bill for treating patients made ill by the cold.
The Government's Green Deal initiative is designed to implement widespread eco-friendly work at houses across the UK to make them more comfortable, cheaper to run and carbon efficient.
Bath and North East Somerset Council is preparing to back the scheme and take a leading role in encouraging people in this area to sign up for the improvements.
A report which went before the council's cabinet last night outlined how Green Deal would work and how it would be paid for.
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The cost of so-called retrofitting would be recouped through energy bills until the work has paid for itself.
The report said: "The scheme will work by enabling householders to have energy efficiency work undertaken in their homes without having to pay any upfront costs.
"The costs are then paid back through a charge on the energy bill for the home at a rate not more than the savings on that energy bill gained by the energy efficiency measures.
"The pay-back liability remains with the house and passes on to the next occupant, who benefits from the work. Once the cost of the work has been paid off, the occupant will benefit from the savings and be protected from energy price rises."
The scheme will start in January and is expected to be fully operational by September.
However, from February some households in parts of Twerton and Southdown will have the work done completely free of charge because they fall in the top 15 per cent of areas of multiple deprivation.
The council believes the retrofitting work would have multiple benefits for the people of Bath, both by reducing fuel bills and promoting healthy living.
At the moment 17 per cent of residents in B&NES are suffering from fuel poverty and the NHS locally is paying around £3.8 million a year in healthcare associated with excess cold in homes.
B&NES is preparing to set aside £35,000 to fund a community engagement programme, informing people about Green Deal, and the setting up of an advice line so residents can ask questions about the scheme.