MORE than 200 homes in Newport are more fuel efficient thanks to a range of multi-million-pound initiatives.

Since 2009, 201 private homes in Ringland and Bettws have received external wall insulation under Newport’s £1.6 million community energy saving programme, funded by the government.

A further 40 households have had new boilers fitted, and 27 have been fitted with solar panels in a bid to reduce energy costs for home owners under the government scheme.

The council got a further £500,000 from the Scottish and Southern’s community benefit fund to offer free or cheap insulation to private rented tenants and landlords.

It is also waiting to hear if it has been successful in gaining £4.5 million from the Welsh Government for further improvements in Bettws and Malpas.

Other grants worth £457,000 could also be made available from Scottish and Southern Utilities for projects in Ringland, Gaer and Beechwood.

Newport council has been working to identify households in “fuel poverty” since 2009.

Homes are considered by the government to be in ‘fuel poverty’ if they would have to spend more than ten per cent of their household income on fuel to keep their home in a satisfactory condition.

A report to a council overviewand scrutiny forum says a considerable amount of work has been completed in making money available for residents who are feeling the pinch in the past 12 months.

An energy survey of all homes in the city has provided valuable information in making the council better informed about where funding is needed, the report says.

It adds that this year will see the expansion of the council’s energy education programme to raise awareness of the problem.

A range of school talks and community-based networking groups are planned.