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Southampton Healthy Homes is marking Fuel Poverty Awareness Day this Friday 17th February with an appeal to residents who are struggling with energy bills. Residents can get in touch with the service, which is delivered by the Environment Centre (tEC) and supported by the Labour-led Southampton City Council, for help to save on their energy bills and keep their homes warm.

In Southampton, an estimated 10,000 households are in fuel poverty, which is 10% of all households in the city. Fuel poverty is caused by a combination of low household income, inefficient housing and high energy costs. It can affect the mental and physical health of those living in cold homes and have serious impacts on their quality of life. 


Over the past year in Southampton the Environment Centre have provided energy advice to 1,116 Southampton residents, supported 413 households through home visits with their partners Citizens Advice, and funded 64 energy efficiency home improvements (including heating upgrades, insulation, glazing and damp treatment). They have also distributed 1,337 energy efficiency materials (including draught-proofing and light-bulbs), trained 172 front-line staff and volunteers in recognising the signs of fuel poverty and helped around 900 households with crisis support, through SCRATCH and SCM Basics Bank.

If you would like to find out more about Southampton Healthy Homes, or would like to refer a family member, neighbour or client, you can contact the Environment Centre (tEC) on Freephone 0800 804 8601(Mon-Fri 9-5) or email keepwarm@environmentcentre.com.

Labour Counillor Dave Shields, Cabinet Member for Health & Sustainability at Southampton City Council, said:  “The majority of the households in Southampton that are in fuel poverty have young children, an older person or someone with a long-term illness or disability living in them. This makes the work of Southampton Healthy Homes even more important in helping people in this situation.” 

 
Adam Goulden, Chief Executive at the Environment Centre, commented: 
“Everyone should be able to live in a warm and comfortable home that does not negatively affect their health and wellbeing. It’s great that we’ve been able to help so many vulnerable residents over the past year, but there is still lots to do to make this a reality for all fuel poor Southampton residents. We will continue to work with our partners to support those households most in need.”

For more information on Southampton Healthy Homes visit:
http://www.environmentcentre.com/projects/healthy-homes/ 

National Fuel Poverty Day: latest figures show 10,000 Southampton residents are in fuel poverty

Southampton Healthy Homes is marking Fuel Poverty Awareness Day this Friday 17th February with an appeal to residents who are struggling with energy bills. Residents can get in touch with...

This week Alan Whitehead launches the Southampton Rental Charter. The charter, supported by Citizen’s Advice Southampton, Southampton City Council, ARLA and Royston Smith MP is an initiative to raise housing standards for private renters in Southampton.

Alan Whitehead MP for Southampton Test set up the charter in response to feedback from constituents and representatives from local letting agents.  “I held a number of public meetings on housing where many of my constituents complained to me about standards in the private rental sector. Issues ranged from unprotected deposits to having requests for essential repairs go unanswered. Representatives from local letting agents were also worried about their reputation being marred by a minority of disreputable agencies. I came up with the idea for this charter in response to both concerns.”

A number of Southampton letting agents have already signed up to the charter designed to raise awareness of those agencies that adhere to good practice and who have committed to run a reputable and high quality service for both landlords. The charter requires letting agents to produce a clear publication of fees and charges, have a dedicated complaints procedure and clear communication with landlords and tenants, deal with property repairs in a timely fashion and always be contactable and ensure properties are of a decent standard. 

The charter is supported by Southampton City Council and builds upon some of the work already done to improve private renting in the city. Councillor Dave Shields was pleased to see the introduction of the Southampton Rental Charter and said "The needs of the city's growing private rented sector tenants is a key priority for the City Council. As lead Council cabinet member with responsibility for this area, I very much welcome‎ Alan Whitehead's initiative in launching the Rental Charter which complements work we are carrying out in addressing issues with HMO s.”

Liz Donegan Chief Officer at Citizen’s Advice Southampton was also pleased to see action being taken. We warmly welcome this excellent initiative.  Between April 2014 and March 2016 we experienced a 26% rise in the number of clients coming to see us with private rented housing problems, the majority concerning disreputable letting agents. We hope more letting agents providing transparency in their dealings with both tenant and landlord will reduce bad business practices, and make this vital source of accommodation sustainable for all in the long term."

Alan Whitehead Launches Pioneering Southampton Rental Charter

This week Alan Whitehead launches the Southampton Rental Charter. The charter, supported by Citizen’s Advice Southampton, Southampton City Council, ARLA and Royston Smith MP is an initiative to raise housing...

In a historic move, Southampton’s Labour-led City Council, alongside the Mayor of London, have called on the Prime Minister to take urgent action to clean up the country’s toxic air.

Every year in Britain 40,000 people die early as a result of air pollution and research from London demonstrates the resulting health effects disproportionately impact the most deprived communities.

 The letter calls for:
 
• Making vehicle manufacturers more accountable for emissions – with a zero-tolerance approach to malpractice, following the recent Volkswagen scandal.
• National minimum emissions standards for private hire vehicles to ensure local requirements are not undermined.
• Greater regulation powers over the use of diesel generators.
• A new 21st century Clean Air Act which will update existing legislation.
• Enshrining the ‘right to clean air’ in law after the UK leaves the European Union.
• Unlocking new powers for local authorities, particularly regarding limiting construction and river emissions.
 
Labour Councillor Christopher Hammond, who leads Southampton’s clear air strategy, said, “Your Labour council has prioritised improving the quality of the air we breathe in our city. We recently launched our Clean Air Strategy, which has a number of measures in it, which will take us back into safe legal limits, but we’re not stopping there.

Port, Bus, Cruise and HGV companies, need to accept and adapt their operations to reduce their impact on residents. We’ll be launching a partnership to encourage that to happen.

We all contribute to the problem, but we can all contribute to the solution and your council will work to make lasting change.”

The letter describes the government’s current £3 million fund for local authorities to clean up their air as “woefully inadequate” and criticises the uncertainty around funding for transport schemes for preventing accurate and detailed planning in the long-term.

 It also underlines the fact air pollution is not a problem local authorities can solve alone, they need government to devolve powerful fiscal incentives such as Vehicle Excise Duty and create a national diesel vehicle scrappage fund.
 
It comes as the government prepares to consult on a new national air quality plan to meet legal limits for nitrogen dioxide as soon as possible, following the recent High Court ruling against its previous plan.

Leader of Southampton City Council, Labour Councillor Simon Letts, said, “The quality of the air we breathe is an issue which affects everybody that lives in the city. We can only act on this issue with government support and along with the leaders of other affected areas I have written today to the Prime Minister requesting that action to improve air quality be prioritised.”

Southampton council urge Prime Minister to take action on air quality

In a historic move, Southampton’s Labour-led City Council, alongside the Mayor of London, have called on the Prime Minister to take urgent action to clean up the country’s toxic air....

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