Today represents a huge milestone for Warm Up North, the regional housing retrofit project for the north east of England.
Following a thorough and rigorous procurement exercise, which attracted significant interest and a number of high quality proposals at every stage of the process, I’m pleased to be able to announce the signing of a contract worth up to £200m between Newcastle City Council – on behalf of eight local authorities across the region – and British Gas.
This makes the north east of England the first region in the country to have in place a contractor, in a public-private partnership, to install measures under Green Deal and ECO across the region, with endorsement from local authorities.
All partner authorities have been enthused by the quality of the offer from British Gas – in its scale and ambition, in the readiness to deliver, and in the clear fit with our objectives around tackling fuel poverty and creating or sustaining jobs in the region.
That optimism has been further boosted by the number of new partner authorities who have been joining us. At first, the partnership comprised Newcastle, Northumberland, South Tyneside, Durham, and Darlington. We’ve been delighted in recent months to welcome on board Sunderland, Gateshead, and Redcar & Cleveland too. This gives us a truly regional project: eight local authorities, working together in partnership with each other and the private sector, from the very north of the region (the border with Scotland) to the very south – the ‘border’ with Yorkshire.
We always believed that local government had a critical role to play in the implementation of Green Deal and ECO. We have been greatly heartened by the recognition from the private sector that partnering with local authorities offers a great opportunity to make Green Deal and ECO work in practice.
Now comes the exciting bit: through this public-private partnership, over the next five to eight years, we have a great opportunity to tackle fuel poverty in thousands of homes, create hundreds of job opportunities, and reduce the carbon footprint of the region.
In short, this gives us a great opportunity to improve the quality of life in the region, and one which all of those involved in the project are looking forward to.
For further details, or to register an interest, either as an SME or a resident of the area, please visit our website at www.warmupnorth.com