Derbyshire residents applying for a new Government Green Homes Grant are being urged to only use approved and checked traders to carry out any work on their properties.
The Green Homes Grant Scheme - which has now launched - is an initiative to encourage homeowners to invest money in improving the energy efficiency of their property, while also giving local traders and the local economy a much-needed boost.
Derbyshire County Council has welcomed the scheme and is encouraging homeowners to consider applying for a grant.
However, the council’s trading standards team are warning people to be vigilant and protect themselves from rogue traders by only using accredited traders who know what needs to be done to meet all the criteria.
The Green Homes Grant gives homeowners vouchers to help cover the cost of energy efficiency improvements to their home, with types of improvement that qualify for the grant split into primary and secondary measures.
Primary measures include loft, wall and floor insulation and low-carbon heating systems (funding is not available for gas or oil heating systems).
If residents have at least one of these ‘primary’ improvements carried out, they can also use the grant for ‘secondary’ items such as double or triple glazing, draught-proofing and energy efficient doors, as long as it costs no more than they spend on the ‘primary’ improvement.
The vouchers will be worth about two-thirds of the cost of the work, up to a maximum of £5,000 per household. So, if people have work done which costs £4,500, they will receive a voucher for £3,015 towards the bill.
People who receive one of the qualifying benefits could claim a voucher to cover all of the cost of the work they have had done, up to £10,000.
As only Government approved traders can do the work, residents won’t be able to apply for a grant unless they get a quote from one of them.
To start, residents need to first check their eligibility, see what improvements could be made to their home and find a list of approved traders to choose from, which they can do by going to https://www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/green-homes-grant/questionnaire
Then they can apply for a voucher using this government website: https://green-homes-grant.service.gov.uk/homeowner-and-landlord-application
Residents can get help with their application from the Government’s Simple Energy Advice Service on 0800 444202 if they don’t have access to the internet.
County council trading standards officers are warning that people must only apply for a grant through the Government website and have emphasised that traders cannot do this on behalf of homeowners or ask for any upfront payment.
They are also urging people not to respond to cold calling, either on the phone or at the door.
Councillor Tony King, DCC's Cabinet Member for Clean Growth and Regeneration, said: “We really welcome the Green Homes Grant Scheme as it not only encourages people to make their homes more energy-efficient and greener but it will reduce people’s energy bills and help the county as a whole to reduce its carbon footprint.
“I hope people will find out more about the scheme and take advantage of the money on offer to improve their homes and the environment.”
Councillor Carol Hart, DCC's Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, said: “This scheme is really positive and will benefit householders across the county.
“However, sadly we know that schemes like these are often seized upon by unscrupulous rogue traders who use them to confuse and trick older and vulnerable people out of their hard-earned cash for either shoddy work or no work at all.
“I’d urge people to see if they are eligible for the grant scheme, but to make sure they do it through the official channels and to only use accredited traders to carry out any work. And it’s really important that no money is paid for work up front.”
For more details about the Green Homes Grant Scheme, go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-green-homes-grant-scheme.