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Scheme warms up

A scheme to cut the number of homes in Neath Port Talbot where people cannot afford to keep warm has visited more than 40,000 householders.

The Bringing Warm Homes to Neath Port Talbot initiative began two-and-a-half years ago as a joint venture between Neath Port Talbot Council and Warm Wales.

So far the scheme has carried out 17,940 surveys and installed 500 new or improved gas heating systems.

It has also given out more than 117,000 free low-energy light bulbs.

In total, the Warm Wales scheme has brought 6m worth of energy help, with 1.32m secured in new or extra benefits for local residents.

Warm Wales is currently installing free energy efficiency measures in housing association homes and will soon embark on a major project which will see a gas pipeline being extended as far as Onllwyn and Banwen in the Dulais Valley. This will mean another 525 homes will have access to a gas supply.

Council leader Derek Vaughan said: 'We are very keen to tackle fuel poverty across the county borough and we're pleased to be working with the project partners on this exciting initiative.

'This is a great opportunity for people to reduce their energy bills, improve the energy efficiency of their homes and receive specialist advice on their benefit entitlement if necessary.

'This project fits well with our theme to concentrate more on the smaller things that make a difference to people's lives.'

Jeremy Nesbitt, commercial director for Warm Wales, said: 'This is the most successful project of its type in the country and we are delighted that so many people in Neath Port Talbot have reaped the benefit.'

Newspaper: Neath Port Talbot Guardian
Date: 15/03/07