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Cash boost helps make social housing more energy efficient

Social housing properties owned by the SIC and Hjaltland Housing are benefiting from government energy efficiency funds.

A FUNDING boost worth more than a third of a million pounds is helping to improve the energy efficiency of the islands’ social housing stock.

Members of Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee heard on Tuesday that a sum of £344,163 had been levered in from the Scottish Government to be spent on the local authority’s own housing stock and that belonging to Hjaltland Housing. 

Infrastructure services director Maggie Sandison explained that the SNP administration announced in September 2016 that an extra £9 million was being made available to improve energy efficiency.

But the timescale for applying was short – within four weeks of the fund’s creation – so she had to exercise emergency powers in order to apply after consulting committee chairman Michael Stout and vice chairman Steven Coutts.

Improvements to properties’ heating systems will play a part in reducing the isles’ high level of fuel poverty, and Sandison said progress was on target with installations due to be completed by 31 March this year.

“[It was] a real opportunity to try and address issues of fuel poverty and improve the condition of our housing stock,” she said.

North Isles councillor Robert Henderson asked whether any funding was available to improve the condition of private housing.

Sandison replied that a separate scheme was in place which considered applications from owners of such properties.