Oban homes made toasty for winter

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A delegation has toured streets in Oban to check on the progress of a major energy efficiency project to warm 633 homes.

In its simplest form, the £6 million programme ‘wraps a blanket’ around the house to cut costly fuel bills, improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint.

Improvements are being made to homes identified to have high heat loss and poor thermal efficiency.

On Monday, eight representatives checked out the project as work takes place homes on Glencruitten Drive and Mossfield Avenue.

The party included representatives from Argyll Community Housing Association, Argyll and Bute Council and co-ordinating contractors SSE.

Kenneth Adam, Business Development Manager, SSE Energy Solutions, part of the OVO group, said: ‘The main objective is to tackle fuel poverty because you have people who are spending so much money just now on high cost electricity and gas bills because they have poor insulation.’

As well as new roofs, the face of homes are being studded with warm blocks of fireproof external wall insultation from as thick as 3.5in to 5.9in and with a 25-year guarantee.

They are then layered with a skim coating, a mesh, a final skim coating and a dash finish to complete the look.

The project is jointly funded by ACHA, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), the Scottish Government and Argyll and Bute Council.

The latter secured a grant totalling £1 million from the government to help extend it to  private owners.

A total of 262 ACHA homes along with 371 in private ownership will benefit.

Alastair MacGregor, ACHA’s chief executive, said the works would have a ‘massive impact’ on fuel poverty in Oban.

Mr MacGregor said: ‘I would like to thank the team working of the various stakeholders in bringing this together.’

It has provided work for three contracting firms bringing more than 190 staff to Oban with a knock-on economic boost.

‘I also believe there will be a considerable benefit to the local economy in these challenging times,’ said Mr MacGregor.

Independent councillor Roddy McCuish, depute provost and chairman of ACHA, was among the delegation.

He said it would help ‘transform’ houses and he only wished they could do more.

‘My only plea is that we can continue to do this good work as there are a lot of houses needing done and I urge that if there is any further funding coming forward we use it for this effect.’

Councillor Robin Currie, council leader, said: ‘One of the simplest and most effective ways we can reduce carbon emissions is to ensure our homes are properly insulated.

‘Preventing heat escaping means being able to turn down the thermostat by a few degrees.

‘That is not only good news for householder pockets it’s good news for the planet as well.’

The project is programmed to run in two phases and is due for completion in March 2021, weather permitting.

It takes in areas throughout Oban, including Mossfield, Glencruitten, homes in the vicinity of Oban High School, Soroba, Soroba Road and Dunollie.