ABOUT 120 council homes in Oxford are to be made more energy efficient under a £500,000 scheme.

Tonight Oxford City Council’s executive board is expected to sign off on the spending that will see work focused on better insulation.

The cash will be used to insulate about 80 solid wall homes across the city and 40 timber framed homes in Barton, which are hard to treat.

In a report, council energy efficiency project officer Debbie Haynes said: “Around 500 of the ‘hard to treat’ solid walls and system build properties remain uninsulated, as well as a number of cavity walled homes.

“Poorly insulated buildings are hard to heat, and correlate with fuel poverty, damp and mould and associated health issues. Therefore, this is a priority for the council to address.”

She said the work could also unlock up to £650,000 in funding from energy companies.

She said: “For social housing, the energy company obligation (ECO) is a requirement placed on the big six energy companies to pay for measures that reduce carbon emissions specifically in hard-to-treat and solid-walled properties, and in households in very low income areas.

“Many of the council’s 7,800 properties are in the 15 per cent most deprived areas – Rose Hill, Barton, Northfield Brook in Greater Leys and Blackbird Leys. As the majority of funding available for social housing is for cavity wall and external wall insulation, these are the energy efficiency measures that are being prioritised.

“Solid wall insulation is expensive to install, typically around £10,000 per unit. Therefore ECO funding enables a larger scale roll-out, making a significant difference to the quality of the housing stock.”

The council is aiming to reduce carbon emissions from its offices by five per cent every year, and aims to apply the same target to housing.

It has already carried out work to bring much of its housing stock up to “decent homes” standard, including 3,886 gas condensing boiler upgrades, 3,465 cavity wall insulation installations and 424 installations of external insulation.

County councillor for Barton Glynis Phillips said: “Anything which improves home insulation is a good thing, not just for the environment but for people’s bills. This has got to be a good thing and I am highly supportive.”

The plans will go in front of the executive board tonight when it meets at 5pm at the Town Hall in St Aldate’s.