1. Warm Front Scheme

The Warm Front scheme provides heating and insulation improvements to households on certain income-related benefits living in properties that are poorly insulated and/or do not have a working central heating system. Qualifying households can get improvements worth up to £3,500 (£6,000 where oil central heating and other alternative technologies are recommended). Grants are available for improvements such as:

  • loft insulation
  • draught proofing
  • cavity wall insulation
  • hot water tank insulation
  • gas, electric, liquid petroleum gas or oil heating
  • glass-fronted fire – the Warm Front scheme can convert your solid-fuel open fire to a glass-fronted fire

You won’t have to pay anything as long as the work doesn’t cost more than the grant available. If the cost of the work is more than the grant available you’ll have to make a contribution to enable work to go ahead. Work will not start without making sure you are willing and able to pay the difference. For more info visit;

1.1 Eligibility for the Warm Front scheme

You may be eligible for heating and insulation improvements up to £3,500 The scheme is now targeted at people on certain income-related benefits and living in properties that are poorly insulated and/or do not have a working central heating system. You must own your home or rent it from a private landlord. The Warm Front scheme is only available in England. Other schemes are available in the rest of the UK (see ‘More useful links’).

1.2 Benefits and financial support

Eligible customers are all those awarded:

  • Pension Credit; or
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance that includes a work-related activity or support component (this includes contribution based ESA customers in the support group who get an income related top up because they automatically qualify for the enhanced disability premium payable with income related ESA)

And those awarded:

  • Income Support; or
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance; or
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance in the assessment phase (first 13 weeks of the claim)

Who must also have one of the following:

  • a pensioner premium; or
  • a disability or severe disability premium; or
  • an award of child tax credit that also includes an element for a disabled, or severely disabled child or young person; or
  • a child under the age of five living with you

In addition to the qualifying benefits listed above, the property you live in must also be poorly insulated and/or not have a working central heating system. If your application continues, you will then be visited by a Warm Front surveyor, who will measure the energy efficiency of your home using a Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP). The surveyor will then make recommendations on which energy efficiency improvements are most appropriate for your property. You should be aware that the surveyor may find that the energy efficiency of your home is above the threshold required to benefit from the scheme. If this is the case you will not be provided with any recommendations and you will be left with details of where else you may be able to get energy advice and help. The Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), is the government’s recommended system for measuring the energy rating of residential properties. To be eligible for Warm Front your home must have a SAP rating of 55 or below. This is equivalent to the start of a Band D Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

1.3 How to apply

1.4 How the Warm Front scheme works

There are four steps in the Warm Front scheme:

Step 1: Application

Apply online, by post or over the phone (see ‘apply for a Warm Front grant).

Step 2: Technical survey

If your application is successful, a Warm Front engineer will visit your home and suggest which improvements could be made under the scheme. You will be given an appointment for a survey when your application is processed. If during this survey it is identified that the problems relate to a gas heating system that could easily be repaired within a three hour time limit, then the Warm Front engineer will carry out the work whilst at your home. If during the survey it is identified that the energy efficiency of your home is above the threshold required to benefit from the scheme, you will not be provided with any recommendations and you will be given details of where else you may be able to get energy advice and help.

Step 3: Allocation of a Warm Front installer

An installer will be allocated to you following your survey. The installer will then be in touch to agree a installation date.

Step 4: Installation work

Fully-trained Warm Front installers will make the improvements in your home. We aim to have insulation work completed within 3 months of your technical survey and heating works completed within a maximum of five months of your survey.

After Installation

A random sample of installations will be inspected following installation. This is to ensure the highest standards of work are maintained within the scheme. If your property is chosen in this sample you will be contacted by Carillion Energy Services to arrange a suitable inspection date.

All customers that receive a new or replacement gas heating system will also get an aftercare service that includes an annual service visit.

2. What do Bracknell Forest Council offer or promote in the way of grants and subsidies?

Home energy monitors available for three weeks from all Bracknell Forest libraries.

2.1 Home Insulation

Loft and Cavity wall insulation is subsidised under the CERT Scheme by big six suppliers.  Visit supplier website to inquire.

The typical cost for a three bedroom house should be £149 for cavity wall insulation and £169 for loft insulation (270 mm top up).

For over-70s, loft and cavity insulation is free.

2.2 Double glazing

There are no grants available for double glazing.

2.3 Warm Front Grants

The Warm Front Scheme installs insulation and heating measures up to the value of £3,500 or £6,000 where oil central heating or alternative low carbon technologies are recommended. Warm Front is only available to home owners on certain disability or income related benefits.

If you are 60 or over, own or privately rent your home and do not qualify for a Warm Front grant, you may be eligible for a £300 rebate. This rebate is towards replacing or repairing an inoperable system or installing new central heating if your property doesn’t have any.

2.4 Winter Fuel Payment

In order to qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment, you must be born on or before 5/7/51. If you’re working or claiming a benefit you are not entitled to it. You will receive £200 if you live alone or if you are the only person that lives in the house; if you live with another qualifying individual, you will receive £100.

2.5 Cold Weather Payment

Cold Weather Payments of £25 per week are paid to pensioners on pension credit, families with children under five on income-related benefit and disabled adults and children when the average temperature is below zero degrees Celsius for seven consecutive days.

The Cold Weather Payments scheme runs every winter from 1 November and 31 March.

A network of weather stations gathers temperature information. This is used to see whether there has been a ‘period of very cold weather’ in any postcode area.

When there is a period of very cold weather in your postcode area, a Cold Weather Payment is made to eligible people who live there.

When there hasn’t been a period of very cold weather in your postcode area, a Cold Weather Payment will not be paid.

People who live near to each other but in different postcode areas might get Cold Weather payments at different times.

2.6 Council Offers

Green Deal

The Process

A Green deal assessment is first carried on the desired property.  This is charged at £50 or charged to the customer later in the process.  The assessment consists of two parts.  An Energy Performance Certificate is generated based on the information on the property.  This certificate will highlight what can be improved in the home or Green Dealed.  Secondly an occupancy assessment is carried out.  The individuals lifestyle, appliance list and heating patterns are studied

An energy efficient plan for the home and costings plan are then generated.  A green finance plan will now be set up.

The savings are then calculated for the energy efficiency measure.  The savings have to be less than the cost of the measure and rate of interest (7%).  If the savings are less than the measure and interest, money is taken from an Eco Pot Subsidy to beat the measure cost and interest rate.  This would be in an exceptional circumstance such as having solid wall insulation.

If the savings are more than the measure and interest rate, the install will go ahead and afterwards a second EPC is carried out.

The measure/install and interest can be paid off immediately or spread out over a period of up to ten years.  A finance program could be set to pay off the install shorter than ten years if the customer wishes to do so.

If the owner of the house decides to move out, the finance program will stay attached to the property.

Flexible Home Improvement Plan/loan

The conditions

  • Homeowner over 60
  • Couple over 60
  • Aged 55 in exceptional circumstances

The process

A chunk of money is allocated from Bracknell Forest Council to improvement the home energy efficiency.  The money must be used to improve the house this way.  The improvement is then carried out and the money can be paid back quite flexibly.  The interest rate of payback is 3.1%.Your account will be debited with a charge of £15 annually to cover the cost of the loan administration. The loan will be secured by a charge on the property.  The loan can also be paid off at any time without penalty.

Warm and Well Scheme

This scheme focuses on poor housing with poor energy efficiency ratings and is for mainly people aged fifty plus.  The council fund loft insulation, cavity wall insulation or contribute towards problems to do with heating.

The property owner would fund the installation to improve the household and Bracknell Forest Council would give a one off grant to contribute towards the install.

3. What is the Green Deal?

This is an innovative financing mechanism that lets people pay for energy efficiency improvements through savings on their energy bill

The process

  • Assessment and a up front survey done on the property
  • No upfront Cost
  • Installation
  • Repayment through energy bill savings

This covers insulation, heating, hot water, glazing and micro generation.

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