Yesterday Age UK launched its campaign for warm park homes with a packed event in the House of Commons. Over 30 MPs attended and pledged their support for the campaign, which is very encouraging.
Living in a park home – a static mobile home – is a popular lifestyle choice for many older people. Age UK estimates that there are over 100,000 older people living in park homes across England and Wales.
Park homes have advantages for people in or approaching retirement: they are often in idyllic rural locations, homes are single-storey which is a consideration for those with health or mobility problems, and they are more affordable than traditionally constructed homes.
THE DIFFICULTIES PARK HOME RESIDENTS FACE
However, park homes – especially older park homes – can be less energy efficient than other types of properties. Ninety-five per cent of park homes were built before 2005, when insulation standards weren’t included in the British Standard for Park Homes.
Many sites are not connected to the mains gas grid, meaning residents have to rely on more expensive fuels such as Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), oil and electricity.
While some park home residents can buy their energy directly from suppliers and therefore shop around for the best deals, many have a supply agreement with the park site owners, which can restrict their access to competitive energy tariffs and additional support such as the Warm Home Discount, Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Priority Services Register.
LACK OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
Many park home residents are on fixed incomes and their only hope of support with heating their home is accessing one of the Government’s energy efficiency schemes.
However, with the Green Deal now closed and ECO contributions from energy suppliers typically insufficient to cover the full cost of heating systems, there is very little support available to them.
That’s why, through its campaign for warm park homes, Age UK is calling on the Government to roll out an energy efficiency scheme specifically tailored to park homes residents, which would enable them to reduce their heating costs and keep warm and well in winter.