Home Energy Conservation Act Report

Last updated: 29 April 2022

The HECA plan will be updated during 2023, once  update guidance has been received.

The Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA) requires all 326 local authorities (LAs) in England to submit reports to the Secretary of State demonstrating what energy conservation measures they have adopted to improve the energy efficiency of residential accommodation within that LA’s area. This covers measures to improve properties in the owner-occupier, private rented sector, and social rented sector. BEIS uses data submitted through LAs HECA returns to inform policy thinking on energy efficiency, and to build an ongoing picture of local and national energy efficiency policy delivery.

Headline and Overview Questions

Does your Local Authority have a current strategy on carbon reduction and/or energy efficiency for domestic or non-domestic properties?

Yes. The Council's  corporate plan (up to 2023) includes priorities around the Environment.

The Council has agreed two new targets to reach carbon neutrality: -

  • For the emissions that are within its direct control to be carbon neutral by 2030
  • By 2050 make our indirect emissions carbon neutral

The Corporate Plan also acknowledges that we need to work in partnership to reduce carbon emissions across the District. A group with external stakeholders has been formed to help produce a carbon reduction action plan for the District. Background work prior to the formation of the group confirms that 32% of the Districts carbon emissions are generated from the existing housing stock; second only to emissions from transport at 50% (Based on the BEIS dataset from 2018). Projects that build on the work that the Council is already doing to reduce emissions from the domestic sector will undoubtedly form part of the District wide action plan.

The current Horsham District Planning Framework is being reviewed with the Regulation 19 document due to be published for consultation in summer 2021. The Draft Horsham District Local Plan 2019-2036 (Regulation 18 version) includes policies on Climate Change (Policy 37) and appropriate energy Use (Policy 38).

This HECA report sets out our intentions to reduce carbon emissions in domestic dwellings.

What scheme(s) is your Local Authority planning to implement in support of energy saving/carbon reduction in residential accommodation properties in the next two years?

In the next two years we plan to retrofit qualifying homes through the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme (LAD1b and LAD2).

We will continue to work with Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP) offering free, independent energy efficiency advice for householders at risk of fuel poverty.

We will continue to offer improvements to qualifying households through the Energy Company Obligation Local Authority Flexible Eligibility (LA Flex).

We will be participating in a solar offer for ‘able to pay’ households through the Solar Together offer

We will continue to promote Warmer Sussex scheme for householders wishing to invest in a whole house plan, where practicable.

Through the Better Care fund we have discretionary safer, suitable homes grants. The grants can help fund improvements for replacement energy efficient heating systems, we have also offered park home external wall and under floor insulation to qualifying households.

We are reviewing retrofit opportunities within our temporary housing units as part of the Councils target to reach carbon neutrality.

The longer term effects of the current health pandemic may affect schemes. This will be accounted for in future HECA reports.

What has been, or will be, the cost(s) of running and administering the scheme(s), such as the value of grants and other support made available, plus any other costs incurred (such as administration) as desired.

LEAP is run at no cost to the Council, is funded by the Warm Homes Discount Industry Initiatives Fund and is delivered by AgilityEco.

LAD1a and b – is funded through a successful grant allocation. The bid was bid led by Portsmouth City Council with AgilityEco as the delivery partner. It is delivered at no cost to Horsham District Council.

The Sussex Solar is led by West Sussex County Council, Horsham District Council has incurred some marketing costs, and this will be mainly covered by a referral fee.

The Safer Suitable Homes budget has spent around £45,000 on carbon reducing during the reporting period.

ECO LA FLEX is administered by the Fuel Poverty Coordinator, this post is funded externally.

What businesses, charities, third sector organisations or other stakeholders do you work with to deliver the scheme(s)?

  • West Sussex District and Borough Councils
  • West Sussex Fuel Poverty Co-ordinator
  • West Sussex County Council
  • Citizens Advice
  • AgilityEco (LEAP, LAD1a LAD1b)
  • Retrofitworks (Warmer Sussex)
  • South East Energy Hub (LAD2)
  • Local climate change community groups

What has been, or will be, the outcome of the scheme(s)? These outcomes could include energy savings, carbon savings, economic impacts such as job creation and/or increased business competitiveness or societal impacts such as alleviation of fuel poverty and/or improved health outcomes etc.

  • LEAP (2019/20) supported 69  households who received 479 small measures. Collectively they are expected to achieve £54,700 lifetime bill savings and 257.5 tonnes of  carbon saved.
  • LEAP (2020/21) supported 39 households who received  250 small measures. Collectively they are expected to achieve £5,301 lifetime bill  savings and 70 tonnes of  carbon.
  • LAD1a  supported  17 households.
  • ECO LA Flex  supported 181 households.
  • Sussex Solar  scheme supported 77 households with PV systems.
  • Sussex Tariff attracted 220 customers.
  • Warmer Sussex provided plans for 24 households.
  • Citizens  Advice Telephone Service supported 317 clients.
  • Safer Suitable Homes (discretionary) grant  supported 13 households.

The intentions with all schemes is to reduce carbon emissions and energy costs for all homes.

Does your Local Authority provide any advisory services to customers on how to save energy? Yes.  LEAP is an energy and money saving service that is helping people keep warm during the colder months and reduce their energy bills without costing them any money. LEAP has a wide network of referral organisations who will refer anyone who is in (or at risk of falling into) fuel poverty. We have partnered with AgilityEco to offer this service.

We supported a funding application for the Citizens Advice to provide a telephone advice service to residents cross the county.

How do you communicate or encourage energy saving amongst domestic consumers and/or local businesses?

We encourage and communicate energy saving and associated schemes through news releases, the Council magazine which is distributed free to all households, social media releases and e-newsletters. We hold information on our website and have officers available to provide telephone advice.

Horsham District Council has been a partner in the promotion of the Sussex Tariff. This is a West Sussex County Council initiative providing a ‘not for profit’ energy company.  This was launched in February 2018 and aimed to encourage more people in Sussex to compare their energy costs, switch and save money.  It gained almost 4,000 customers with 220 customers within the locality.  This scheme ended in 2020 as the company was sold. All customers were supported to move tariff.

The West Sussex Fuel Poverty Coordinators send emails and newsletters to over 100 front line workers including: updates on the fuel poverty support services, links to the West Sussex energy website and area-based home energy advisor services. These communications are also shared internally and with wider community working with vulnerable low income residents. Talks and short training sessions are provided to community front line worker and staff at the Local Authority.

Have you made any assessment, or undertaken any analysis of the existing capacity in your local energy efficiency retrofit supply chain to support the de-carbonisation of buildings by 2050? If Yes, please summarise the outcomes.

The Council promotes insulation such as loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and external wall insulation. No specific makes of product are advised. We have a select list of installers through our Local Authority Flex Scheme to support residents to insulate their homes accessing grants. Due diligence is carried out to ensure these contractors are working to a high standard.

We have been running a park home insulation scheme and approaching external wall insulation contractors.  We have found this a niche market and only local firms are competitive to win tenders. Through the Trustmark accreditation materials are sourced locally as a requirement of this scheme.

The Solar Together Sussex scheme involves hundreds of PV Solar contractors being approached and asked to tender.  The winning contractor uses a large number, of vetted smaller PV sub-contractor to undertake the works. Local sub-contractors were used for associated works e.g. scaffolding and any future scheme will focus more on on-boarding local installers who meet the required standards.

What actions are you taking, if any, to upskill and/or grow the local energy efficiency installer supply chain? This could include the facilitation of training, and local installer networking opportunities.

The Safer Suitable grants involve the Local Authority working with client selected contractors to ensure works are undertaken to a suitable standard.  Local contractors are normally selected for these works.

We have worked with Retrofitworks who seeks to recruit local contractors and suppliers and working to recruit more to their retrofit scheme. However due to changes in central government funding this scheme is unable to take on new customers temporarily.

What actions are you taking, if any, to promote energy efficiency and the installer supply chain to consumers, and encourage households to consider energy retrofit?

The Solar Together Sussex scheme involved a direct mail-out to residents to promote the use of PV.  As part of the LAD 1 scheme we have produced mail-outs to residents to promote the energy efficiency measures.  Also, through this scheme short videos of renewable technologies have been produced. We have shared these on our website and social media to raise awareness.

If no action is taking place in either of these two areas, please let us know of any barriers you have encountered.

We have found the Trustmark requirement for the Green Home Grants has restricted uptake.  Residents have made contact stating that there are very few eligible contractors and they are reluctant to quote because of travel distance.

How effectively is your LA able to engage (Trustmark/PAS2035/PAS2030 certified) installers?

The LAD scheme also uses only Trustmark registered contractors. This has been a limiting factor as there are few contractors that have become Trustmark registered in the area.  The park home insulation scheme has a contractor which is widely used and who is Trustmark registered.

Do you have any plans to develop policies or initiatives in this space over the next five years as part of supporting your local decarbonisation efforts?

The LAD 2 schemes through the South East Energy Hub, may also offer opportunities to be involved with their Dynamic System Purchasing, to support local installers and contractors. We would like to further promote Trustmark and PAS2030/2035 but are aware of the limitations and extra costs involved. More support for contractors financially to allow them to work to these standards would be beneficial.

What action, if any, has your LA taken to install energy efficiency or low carbon heat measures in social housing? Have these been installed to a satisfactory quality? What actions (if any) have your social housing partners taken? 

Horsham District Council does not have its own social housing, however it does have some temporary accommodation units. Some of the units are currently being assessed for retrofit potential. The outcome of surveys will determine suitable actions and funding opportunities such as LAD will be reviewed.

Is your authority aware of the PRS Minimum Efficiency Standards regulations requiring private rentals in England and Wales to meet a minimum energy performance rating of EPC Band E as of April 2020, unless a valid exemption applies? 


Which team within your authority is responsible for, leading on enforcement of the PRS minimum standard? Please provide the contact details of the person leading this team.  

Environmental Health – Private Sector Housing Team.

What method or methods does your authority use to communicate with landlords and tenants about the standards and other related issues? Landlords are contacted directly upon receipt of complaints from tenants.

What barriers, if any, does your local authority face enforcing these regulations (e.g. identifying non-compliant properties/landlords, budgeting/resourcing, any legal issues)? We engage and educate landlords before pursuing enforcement action, under the provisions of the Housing Act 2004.

Do you directly target landlords of EPC F and G rated properties to enforce these regulations? If yes, how? If no, please explain. Periodically we contact landlords who have registered exemptions through the high cost exemption reason where they may be able to access funding through the LAD, or LA Flex.

What financial programmes, if any, do you have to promote domestic energy efficiency or energy saving? If applicable please outline the budget (and % of the budget that is used), where such funding is sourced and where it is targeted.

As part of a consortium with LAD1a and B funding we are able to promote domestic energy efficiency to low income households with poor EPC rating. This is available to all tenures. LAD2 (in 2021) will also be available to all tenures. LA Flex is available to owner occupiers.

What future investment for energy efficiency or low carbon heat measures do you have planned, and when are these investments planned for?

Horsham District Council doesn’t have its own housing stock so can only encourage properties under private ownership and social registered landlords. We have a small number of properties which are used for temporary accommodation and they are being reviewed for potential carbon saving improvements.

Does your Local Authority have a Fuel Poverty Strategy?

Fuel Poverty is a complex public health issue: to effectively tackle fuel poverty it is important to have a multi-agency approach. The West Sussex local authorities have come together, under the direction of the Fuel Poverty Coordinator, and adopted a Framework for Action which draws together current interventions, governance structures and identifies influences and provides an overview of fuel poverty across the county. Horsham District Council’s strategy is reflected in the content of this and previous HECA Progress reports.

What steps have you taken to identify residents/properties in fuel poverty? What blockers, if any, have there been in identifying households in fuel poverty?

Since the introduction of HECA, Horsham District Council has historically spent time analysing data to determine where the highest levels of fuel poverty are. This has provided indications of where the highest levels of fuel poverty are likely to be. More recently data has been reviewed relating specifically to Local Authority Delivery, provided by the Regional Energy Hub. This is a new source of data, based upon EPC data and will be invaluable for future profiling of fuel poverty within the district.

How does fuel poverty interlink with your local authority’s overall Carbon Reduction Strategy?

Improving domestic household energy efficiency to help those in fuel poverty and as a way of reducing carbon emissions is referenced in the Corporate Plan. As noted in a previous section the need to reduce carbon emissions from the domestic sector is a priority for reaching net zero carbon for the District.  Horsham District Council is involved with the West Sussex Affordable Energy partnership promoting and authorising West Sussex wide schemes, such as the Local Authority flexible criteria and the LAD 1a & b and LAD 2.

Please highlight any fuel poverty issues specific to your area.

The Horsham District is a semi-rural local authority area covering 200 square miles. We have large areas which are not connected to the mains gas network and therefore reliant on oil and electric heating systems. We also have high levels of listed buildings, conservation areas and properties lying within the Southdown’s national park. This makes retrofitting of some properties more difficult. We also have a number of isolated properties which can make identifying properties harder. There is also a high level of Park Homes (mobile homes). Within the resident population we have a high level of older people, of non-working age dependent on savings, pensions and benefits.

What measures or initiatives have you taken to promote fuel cost reduction for those in fuel poverty? Include information on partnerships with local businesses or energy providers you have.

There are a variety of front line home energy services residents can access for support with energy costs. This includes a Citizens Advice single point of contact telephone service and LEAP, these  home energy services offer free home energy visits (when restriction are not in place), or advise over the phone on energy switching, money and debt advice.  The Sussex tariff provided confidence to those new to switching about the ease and savings potential. Consistently offered annual savings of between £200 and £250 to customers transferring from ‘standard variable’ tariffs offered by the ‘Big Six’ (based on the energy consumption of the average household, according to Ofgem). The tariff also provided financial support via scheme commission to local fuel poverty initiatives, including £22,000 to establish an emergency fuel voucher scheme for vulnerable pre-payment tariff customers. The vouchers were distributed by Citizens advice and across the county 160 vouchers were issued with a value of £6,391. LAD, LA Flex, Safer Warmer Homes grants all reduce fuel costs and eligibility criteria will focus support to those in fuel poverty.

Has your Local Authority Participated in GHG: LAD? Yes. LAD 1a West Sussex District and Borough Councils are in a consortium with 9 local authority areas lead by Portsmouth City Council and AgilityEco. Through LAD1a £3.1million has been secured to fund carbon reductions measures for around 300   EPC E,F & G rated properties. The funding is available until June 2021. With the same consortium we also have LAD 1b funding, due to start from 1st April and run till end September 2021, which is £6.2 million for 900 homes with EPC D, E, F & G ratings. Altogether the funding is £9.2 million for 1200 homes across the consortium area and is first come first serve. Solar Photovoltaics will form part of the LAD1b offer.

We are in a consortium with the West Sussex District and Boroughs and Brighton & Hove Council for LAD2, working with the South East Energy Hub.

Would your Local Authority be in a position to manage the delivery of upgrades through a scheme such as LAD in 2022? Potentially we would be in a position to offer LAD during 2022, as part of a consortium with a managing agent and delivery partner. We have been allocated £360,000 for LAD 2 and we have submitted a plan for targeted eligible households.

If yes, please indicate the anticipated number of homes that could be upgraded per year. We would need clearer information about future LAD schemes before anticipating number of homes.

Has your local authority published a Statement of Intent (SoI) for ECO flexibility eligibility? (Y/N) Yes, the West Sussex District and Boroughs have produced a joint Statement of Intent (SoI). Arun District Council are the leading partner and host the SoI .

How many declarations were issued for low income vulnerable households? 104

How many declarations were issued for Fuel Poor households? 77

How many declarations were issued for in-fill?0

What is the highest income cap published in your SoI? £3,846 Monthly (after housing costs for households with 2 adults and 4 or more children) (£46,155 annual).

If you have used an income over £30k gross, what reason have you given? Income thresholds have been defined to take into account the higher living costs in West Sussex. ONS data on average income levels across West Sussex has been analysed. An income threshold of 80% of the West Sussex mean income is considered a tailored and appropriate proxy, in conjunction with the other eligibility criteria, for identifying a low income household in West Sussex.

Do you charge for declarations to be signed? If so, please state how much?  No – but this is something we are currently exploring.

Please provide a brief statement outlining your current or planned approach to promote smart meter take up and supporting residents to achieve benefits.

The implementation of smart meters is a duty that lies with the energy companies, so we focus our efforts on advising resident about smart meters and encouraging those who are unsure about installation. This line of work has not been a priority during the current health pandemic.

Please outline any further schemes or wider initiatives not covered above that your local authority has carried out or is planning to undertake to improve energy efficiency in residential accommodation.

West Sussex Fuel Poverty Coordinator (FPC): We will continue to work with and support the Fuel Poverty Coordinator for West Sussex. The role of the coordinator is to identify and support the implementation new initiatives that will help reduce fuel poverty across West Sussex, and has been pivotal to LEAP, LAD, and LA FLEX. The FPC also administers an emergency heater scheme which provides an oil filled heater to vulnerable people with no working heating system as a temporary measure whilst long term sustainable measures are sought.

We will continue to work collaboratively with the West Sussex Authorities to develop initiatives for the benefit of our residents.

We will continue to develop our Statement of Intent to ensure as many people as possible receive support within the parameters of the Energy Company Obligation.

We will continue to consider and implement appropriate schemes as new opportunities arise for the benefits of our residents.

There are a number of other community groups (including Sussex Green Living, Greening Steyning, Horsham Repair Café, Transition Horsham and the Kinder Living group) operating across the district and we are glad to have their invaluable support in improving energy efficiency and reducing fuel poverty and carbon emissions for the districts residents.