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Page last updated at 16:14 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Home insulation scheme

Len Tingle
Len Tingle
Politics Show Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

The snow has been slow to disappear from the roofs of houses in the Huddersfield area of West Yorkshire,because the local Kirklees District Council says it has one of the best records in the UK for helping householders insulate their lofts..

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Kirklees Council thinks it has the answer to staying warm over the winter... by offering free cavity wall and roof insulation to all.

Unlike in other parts of the country, Kirklees' "Warm Zone" scheme is entirely free to all homeowners.

In two years, 18,000 homes have had loft insulation installed and 9,000 cavity wall insulation.

That is far more than in Greater London in the same period.

The initial three years of the project will cost around £20m with half the cost picked up by the council and the rest coming from energy supplier, Scottish Power.

Warm envy

Virtually every other local authority in the UK has its own version of the "Warm Front" scheme.

They too use a combination of local taxpayers' and power company money.

The difference is, that householders have to contribute to the cost unless they are pensioners or on benefit

Even the "Green Mortgages" which the government has announced will be available from 2012, will mean householders borrowing the money to have energy efficiency improvement work done, and repaying it through their energy bills.

Patrick Harvie
We looked all over Europe to find the best way of getting our homes insulated
Patrick Harvie

Best practice?

The Kirklees scheme is now being eyed up other parts of the UK.

London Mayor Boris Johnson's office has been checking out the system and the Scottish Parliament had a fierce debate on introducing it country wide as part of its 2009 budget spending plans.

"We missed out this time - but the scheme is not dead in Scotland," says Green MSP, Patrick Harvie.

"We looked all over Europe to find the best way of getting our homes insulated and when we went to Huddersfield last year we decided Kirklees was doing it right.

"And it needs to be introduced to encourage more people to have the work done."

Scottish schemes miss out

The Greens point out that Scotland is well behind most other parts of the UK when it comes to insulation.

Homeowners could be asked to contribute around £200 depending on their income to have the work done.

Rosemary Brochie
It will have to wait until we can afford it
Rosemary Brochie

According to organisers of home insulation schemes in Scotland that is putting people off.

"It might be just £200 when the actual cost is far higher… but when money's tight, that £200 might be something that can't be afforded," says Stuart Hay part of the advice centre on home energy conversation in Edinburgh which covers the whole of South East Scotland.

Rosemary Brochie and her children, two-year-old Harriet and baby Peter, desperately want to have their home at Kirknewton near Edinburgh draft proofed and insulated.

"We know it would help. But we do not qualify for the work being done for free and we would have to borrow to get it done.

"It will have to wait until we can afford it," she says.

Free insulation

Meanwhile, back in Huddersfield, Mavis Thorne's home is nice and warm.

Her loft is thickly insulated and her walls filled to keep the warmth in.

She did not pay a penny for the work. She also has snow on the roof.

Len Tingle compares home insulation schemes in Scotland and Huddersfield for the Politics Show for Yorkshire Lincolnshire and the North Midlands.

Also on the programme...

Still a funding gap for the police..?

Tim Iredale looks at why Lincolnshire Police say it is still facing a multi-million pound funding gap despite being awarded a mouth-watering increase in its budget for 2008.

And George Mudie, Labour MP for Leeds East, and member of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, joins Clare Frisby fresh from grilling of Britain's Banking bosses.

Clare Frisby presents the Politics Show for Yorkshire Lincolnshire and the North Midlands Sundays at 1200 GMT.

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