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News Update from BRE’s Housing and Health Team – June 2018

ECO3 – Energy Company Obligation

BEIS recently published a consultation for the Energy Company Obligation – ECO3, the follow up to ECO2t. The following is a summary of the proposals:

  • The new scheme would start in October 2018 and run to the end of March 2022 (3.5 years)
  • The whole scheme would focus on Affordable Warmth so that low income and vulnerable households are the recipients of the main benefits (CERO will be removed)
  • The scope of the Affordable Warmth group would be expanded to include other benefits (e.g. Child Benefit, income thresholds, Personal Independence Payment, etc.)
  • There would be a focus on replacing electric storage heaters with central heating
  • The target would be to improve 17,000 solid wall dwellings every year
  • Broken heating systems would be replaced (maximum of 35,000 per year)
  • The scheme would encourage the replacement of heating systems only when also installing certain types of insulation
  • Renewable Heat Incentive measures would not be eligible under ECO3
  • Suppliers would be able to meet up to 10 – 20% of their obligation through “innovative measures”

The consultation period has now ended but the consultation document is available to view here.

POSTnote on health in private-rented housing

Researchers from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology visited BRE to provide evidence for the briefing (POSTnote) on housing quality and health in the private rented sector. Information from the English Housing Survey and research findings from health costs from poor housing was supplied, and the experiences gathered from interactions with local authorities on selective licensing and the impact of constrained resources conveyed. We also asked to peer review the document, which can be downloaded here Health in Private-Rented Housing.

Westminster – APPG on Healthy Homes and Buildings

The APPG on Healthy Homes and Buildings was established in May 2016 to highlight the compelling health and cost benefits of delivering homes and buildings that are healthy, comfortable and energy efficient. The group seeks to raise standards and improve building regulations to ensure that every home and building is fit for purpose and does not create, compound or intensify health problems. The Green Paper Building our Future: Laying the Foundations for Healthy Homes and Buildings: Draft Paper can be read and downloaded here. Having responded to the Green Paper, BRE were invited to present oral evidence including what needs to be done to achieve a healthier built environment. This includes emphasising the importance of local authorities in improving population health through integrated housing and health interventions, the importance of the private rented sector, given that it contains the poorest housing conditions and has now overtaken the size of the social rented sector, and the reduction in capacity of LA environmental health teams. Minutes from this session can be seen here Minutes. Further information was presented at the feedback session on 16th April including data gathered through the English Housing Survey, the importance of local authorities reviewing the condition of local housing stock and consideration of a national registration / licensing scheme.

Improving health and care through the home – national commitment

We have reaffirmed our commitment to the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with over 25 government bodies and organisations in the health, social care and housing sector. It sets out a shared commitment to joint action across government, health, social care and housing sectors in England with principles for better health and wellbeing outcomes, and to reduce health inequalities. BRE meet with other MOU stakeholders twice a year, and under the initial incarnation, conducted research and instigated work to build a dementia demonstrator house at the BRE Innovation Park. The Improving Health and Care through the Home: a National Memorandum of Understanding document can be viewed here.

Bristol consult on additional licensing scheme for HMOs in parts of the city

In Bristol, 29% of the housing stock is privately rented, this is much higher than the national average of 20% and the sector is continuing to grow. While many private landlords provide good standards of housing to their tenants, Bristol City Council intend to improve standards of those which are poorly managed. The council have put forward a proposal for an additional licensing scheme for 12 central Bristol wards. If this goes ahead, most privately owned HMOs in these central areas, which do not currently have a mandatory licence, would need an additional licence.

BRE assisted Bristol City Council with assembling the evidence base relating to housing condition and levels of disrepair for HMOs for this consultation. The data showed that HMOs in the private rented sector in Bristol are in poorer condition than non-HMOs – levels of category 1 hazards for HMOs are 22%, compared to 13% for non-HMOs, and levels of disrepair are 9% for HMOs compared to 6% for non-HMOs. BRE also assisted by identifying wards that could potentially benefit from additional HMO licensing, based on areas with high levels of HMOs and with high proportions of hazards or disrepair.

Did you know?

Housing Stock Condition Database (HSCD) webinar

In April, we hosted a webinar to introduce and demonstrate the Housing Stock Condition Database (HSCD).  The new online system is currently being used by a number of local authorities and allows the purchased Housing Stock Model data to be explored, queried and updated.  The webinar was also an opportunity for the team to discuss plans for future updates to the HSCD and to invite views on preferences.  Top of the live polls for future updates included:

  • Real-time calculation, allowing outputs to be recalculated based on updated dwelling characteristics
  • Live maps
  • Inclusion of the Land Registry? Commercial and Corporate Ownership Database (CCOD) and Overseas Companies Ownership Database (OCOD)
  • Linking the HSCD into the Excess Cold Calculator (XCC) and Housing Health Cost Calculator (HHCC)

The recording of the webinar is now available to view here. We would like to thank those who were able to watch the webinar live and provided us with helpful customer feedback through the polls and comments.  Please let us know if there is content you would like to see in future webinars.

Cornwall New Energy: calling for local authority feedback …

Cornwall New Energy is an EU funded project aiming to create a cleaner and more sustainable energy future for the peninsula. As part of this project, Cornwall Council defined several ambitious targets to be achieved by 2030:

  • 5% reduction in fuel poverty
  • 20% reduction in fuel bills
  • 30% of energy spend retained in the Cornish economy
  • 50% of generation to be owned locally
  • 100% of electricity demand to be met by renewables
  • 4,000 green jobs in the county

BRE’s National Solar Centre are in the process of producing a ‘Roadmap to 2030’, laying out the pathway for Cornwall to meet its goals. As part of this project the National Solar Centre are looking to speak to local authorities with existing energy strategies. They want to learn from your experiences and create case studies to be included within Cornwall’s strategy document. If you are interested in producing a case study please email [email protected] or click here and complete the survey.

Useful events and training

FREE – Managing the Impact of Flood Webinar, Wednesday 25th June 12:30 Register here

More training courses here or see all BRE events…

Finally – Keep in touch with BRE

We want to keep you updated on what’s new in the world of housing and health, as well as provide some insight into some of the work our customers have been doing. Please go to our online preference centre and opt-in to receive regular communications from BRE – if you select to receive the monthly BRE e-news we will include a quarterly reminder for the publication of this news update on BRE Buzz. Additionally, if you have specific queries please e-mail us at [email protected] and for more information on our services go to