Castle Point has worst energy efficient homes because of caravans

Poor insulation in caravans has led to Castle Point being rated as having the worst energy efficiency in mainland England, a council leader has said.

Many people in Castle Point, particularly those living in the hundreds of mobile homes in the borough, are set to be most acutely vulnerable to an energy price rise in April of 54 per cent.

According to figures published in November 2021, only 21.4 percent of homes in the borough have a decent Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C or above, compared to the national average of 41 percent.

That poor level of performance has been blamed largely on the the number of households living in mobile homes as their permanent home.

But that is likely to improve with Castle Point Borough Council having just completed a £2.3m upgrade of 250 private homes in Kings Park, the UK’s largest residential home park.

It is one of four caravan sites in Castle Point – the others being Holehaven Caravan Park, Kingsley Park, and the large Thorney Bay – that between them have more than 1,200 caravans permanently occupied.

Figures from the 2011 census show Castle Point has the sixth highest number of households living in caravans in England – a notable change in position since 2001, where it had the 59th highest number of households living in caravans or other mobile or temporary structures.

In terms of the proportion of households living in caravans or other mobile or temporary structures, Castle Point has the second highest proportion of households living in caravans.

In 2001 Castle Point had the 31st highest proportion of households living in caravans.

Cost of heating has been raised as the primary complaint of living in a caravan.

A report 2013 revealed that of the people living in Kings Park, 32 per cent said staying warn in winter was an issue with 56 per cent saying cost of fuel for heating was an issue.

Castle Point Borough Council was awarded a £2.3m grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme, to fully upgrade the insulation on 250 homes at Kings Park Village in February 2021.

These upgrades could cut each household’s energy bills by hundreds of pounds every year and are likely to save thousands of tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere over their lifetime, the council has said.

Around 18 million households on standard tariffs across the UK will see an average increase of £693 – from £1,277 to £1,971 per year when the cap ends in April.

Energy bills won’t rise immediately for customers on fixed rates, but many are likely to see a significant increase when their deal ends.

Councillor Andrew Sheldon, leader of Castle Point Borough Council, said: “We have a lot of park homes in the borough in privately owned parks and unless they are properly insulated they tend to be far less energy efficient then bricks and mortar homes.

“Last year Castle Point Borough Council has been awarded a £2.3million grant, the biggest single award of any local authority in England, from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme, to fully upgrade the insulation on 250 private park homes at Kings Park Village on Canvey Island.

“That work was completed in the Autumn. These upgrades could cut each household’s energy bills by hundreds of pounds every year and are likely to save thousands of tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere over their lifetime.”

Residents who do not live at Kings Park are still able to take advantage of the Green Homes Scheme, which can provide up to £5,000 to pay part of the cost of energy saving measures like insulation and low carbon technology such as an air source heat pump.

The borough of Tower Hamlets in London boasts the highest percentage of homes with good energy ratings. There nearly three quarters of homes have an EPC rating of C or above.

In Essex, Southend, at 29 per cent, Rochford at 34 per cent, Maldon at 35 per cent, Epping Forest at 36 per cent and Brentwood at 37 per cent all have a percentage of homes boasting an EPC rating of C or above below the national average.

The Isles of Scilly has the worst average EPC rating in England with just 11 per cent of homes boasting an EPC rating of C or above.

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter