"Green" council houses win ministerial approval

A project to make a Milton Keynes housing estate "greener" has won the approval of Energy Minister Greg Barker.

Almost 500 council owned homes on the Lakes Estate in Bletchley are undergoing refurbishment as part of a £7.7m project.

During a visit to the estate today, Mr Barker met with local residents and saw for himself the improvements being made to the 1960s terraces and bungalows.

Work includes installing double glazing, new insulation and cladding, replacing boilers and installing new warm flat roofs.

The refurbishment costs around £20,000 per property and takes between 6-8 weeks.

Sue and Dave Osborne, who've lived on the Lakes for 8 years are among the first residents to benefit.

Last winter we were putting approximately £40 a week in our gas and £25/30 a week in our electricity meter. We are hoping that is going to drastically reduce this year".

– Sue Osborne, Lakes Estate Resident

There are 2,200 homes on the estate, half of them owned by Milton Keynes Council, but it is also hoped many private owners will take advantage of low cost loans to add the same improvements.

The Energy Minister says in future, private owners will be able to benefit from a new Government initiative.

"The Green Deal means that people will have no up front costs and won't have to take out a personal loan. The savings will be attached in finance charges to the electricity bill and will be repaid by whoever is in the home at the time. If you move away it stays on the meter and the benefits go to the people who move in after".

– GREG BARKER MP, Energy Minister