Northumberland County Council is urging residents living in rural areas of Northumberland to see if they are eligible for a free central heating system, subject to eligibility and survey.
Northumberland County Council, part of Warm Up North, a partnership with eight other North East local authorities and British Gas, has been awarded funding to install free central heating systems into qualifying properties.
To qualify, the applicant must be a private homeowner or have a private landlord in one of the nine North East local authority areas; Northumberland County Council, Durham County Council, Darlington Borough Council, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, South Tyneside Council, Sunderland City Council, Hartlepool Borough Council, Gateshead Council and Newcastle City Council.
They must also meet the below criteria:
1. The household has a gross total income of less than £26,000, including any benefits. Applicants may still qualify if they receive certain income-related benefits. Visit Warm Up North for the full list of these qualifying income-related benefits, or call them on 0800 294 8073.
AND one of the following
2. i) The property does not have, and never has had, a central heating system. If the property has electric storage heaters, electric room heaters, solid fuel fires and single gas fires it may qualify as they do not count as central heating systems.
ii) The main method of heating the property is the use of solid fuels  and it only has a partial, solid fuel-fired, central heating system. By partial, this means that one or more of the habitable rooms  are not connected to the home’s main heating system.
iii) The property uses electric storage heaters.
3. Northumberland County Council wants to install new central heating systems where they will make the most difference, particularly to the energy efficiency rating of homes. For the property to qualify, the installation of a new central heating system must improve the energy rating. This will be determined by a Warm Up North surveyor at the whole house assessment stage.
If the survey reveals a gas central heating system is not suitable for the property, an oil boiler or an air source heat pump will be installed into qualifying properties.
Coun Allan Hepple, Cabinet member for economic growth with the county council, said: "We’re delighted that the scheme has already gained interest from a number of residents in Northumberland. The Warm Up North scheme will make a huge difference to the quality of life of the people it helps and we really want that benefit to be felt across Northumberland. Fuel poverty is a serious problem, particularly in rural areas like Northumberland, so we’re urging people who think that they may be eligible to contact the Warm Up North team for advice."
Residents who think they may qualify for the scheme can find more information by visiting the Warm Up North website or by calling Warm Up North on 0800 294 8073.