PLANS to insulate almost 3,000 terraced homes and cut energy bills in Blackburn and Darwen have been revealed.

A major programme to tackle 2,500 ‘hard-to-treat’ properties in Sudell ward will be paid for by cash from energy companies.

A second scheme, aimed at householders on benefit, will treat 450 houses in Little Harwood.

The council originally hoped to complete the work by December next year but has put the roll-out on hold while changes in the Energy Company Obligation scheme are agreed between gas and electricity suppliers and the government.

The talks follow ministers’ recent announcement that there will be a £50 reduction on average on fuel bills. The whole project will cost more than £90,000, at an average £300 per property.

The Sudell scheme is aimed at all residents with homes which cannot be treated with standard cavity wall insulation measures because these materials are unsuitable due to the age of the property, construction type or due to the risk of leaks. Loft insulation is included. Householders on qualifying benefits will be entitled to replacement boilers as well.

Sudell ward contains the highest concentration of ‘hard-to-treat’ homes in the borough.

Liberal Democrat councillor Roy Davies, who represents the ward, said: “This scheme is welcome. We have had a pilot scheme of about 200 homes in the ward treated so far.

“We have some of the highest levels of deprivation in the borough and some of the highest energy bills because of the poor state of the housing.”

The Little Harwood scheme targets ‘hard-to-treat’ cavity walls, lofts and poor quality double-glazing. It will be restricted to qualifying benefit claimants.

Mohammed Khan, borough executive member for health and adult social care, said: “As a council we continue to do all we can to help those who are in fuel poverty and to improve the energy efficiency of the borough.

“These issues can affect the health and wellbeing of our residents, particularly children, and the elderly.”