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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number NIA_NGN_195
Title Connecting homes for health
Status Completed
Energy Categories Fossil Fuels: Oil Gas and Coal(Oil and Gas, Refining, transport and storage of oil and gas) 100%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Northern Gas Networks
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 December 2016
End Date 01 May 2018
Duration 17 months
Total Grant Value £115,989
Industrial Sectors Technical Consultancy
Region Yorkshire & Humberside
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Northern Gas Networks (100.000%)
Web Site http://www.smarternetworks.org/project/NIA_NGN_195
Objectives Gas connections procedures are refined to help to ensure the most vulnerable households are reached and engaged. The concept is socialised through key industry players to bring about wider change and the development of future regulations is better informed. Local authorities and GDNs are more enabled to work in partnership to achieve health outcomes (bridging the gap between the two). New avenues for infrastructure improvement and policy developments are identified. Stage 1: A final report including: A review of existing evidence regarding the health outcomes and environmental benefits of connecting a household to the gas gridA review of how impact upon health and wellbeing and the environment has been effectively measured by existing initiatives (qualitatively and quantitatively) An analysis of gaps in current evidenceRecommendations of appropriate measurement parameters for a new health-based eligibility criteria for network extension procedures that can work towards addressing those gapsA consultation workshop with all partners to: Share the results of the stage 1 review and provide feedbackRefine and develop methods for testing the criteria developed in the stage 1 review and closing gaps in current evidence regarding the health outcomes of network connectionsA full proposal for stage 2 of the research incorporating feedback from the consultation workshop will be developed and submitted to NGN for approvalStage 2: A pilot study to test and evaluate the health and environmental impact of gas connections procedures in a specified region (County Durham) using qualitative and quantitative techniques both pre- and post-connection (including the use of a crisis fund for the installation of accompanying measures)A final report evaluating: impact upon health and wellbeing, and benefits to the environment, of connecting a household to the gas network effectiveness of including health and environmental eligibility criteria to current network extension proceduresassessment of available health and environmental indicators and criteria that could be adopted as good practiceA best practice blue-print including: recommendations for how health and environmental eligibility criteria can be incorporated into current frameworks for gas connectionscase studies for effective partnership working between local authorities and GDNs for the implementation of the NICE guidance across sectorspolicy recommendations for enabling other industry bodies to incorporate learnings from the research into connections procedures
Abstract GDNs are currently obliged to provide selected vulnerable households with a gas network connection (where a gas connection is considered to be most appropriate means of assistance) under the Fuel Poor Network Extension Scheme (Ofgem 2016). Under the scheme, GDNs and IGTs work with partner organisations to help eligible households to switch to a natural gas or a heat network, and provide funding to cover connection costs. For a household to be considered for assistance under the Fuel Poor Network Extension Scheme, they must meet the following criteria: They must live within the 25% most deprived areas in the UK according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD)They must be eligible for support under the ECO Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (Great Britain), Nest in Wales or the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes in ScotlandThey must be in fuel poverty based on the definition or indicator formally adopted by each nation. The current Regulatory Framework will run until 2021, thus providing an opportunity for interested organisations to assess whether the obligations for connecting fuel-poor households as they stand are able to cover the wider range of vulnerabilities which living in a cold home can cause or exacerbate, and which providing a gas grid connection could help alleviate. It also provides an opportunity to access how far current frameworks enable and capture additional indicators, such as health and wellbeing, and environmental benefits. This coincides with a number of strategic recommendations and targets that have been released by official bodies. In terms of health and wellbeing, it overlaps with the release of the 2015 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on excess winter deaths and illness and the health risks associated with cold homes (NG6), as well as the publication of the NHS Five Year Forward Plan (2014). The evidence review conducted by NICE highlights the significant impact which living in a cold home can have on health, and provides a number of recommendations to address this. Recommendations are targeted at particular organisations: for example, recommendation 3 (provide tailored solutions via the single point of contact health and housing referral service for people living in cold homes) names health and wellbeing boards, local authorities, housing providers, energy utility and distribution companies, as well as faith and voluntary sector organisations as being the key actors needing to take action. This also represents a means through which GDNs can engage with (and bridge) those parts of the health sector that address both clinical concerns and the wider determinants of health, in so far as they coincide with the health impacts of cold homes. For example, the NHS Five Year Forward View emphasises a need to integrate a focus on prevention and public health into current health service delivery. In a context in which pressures upon the NHS are continually increasing, the King’s Fund argues that this is to be done by "aspiring to shift investment into the community to provide alternatives to care in hospitals or care homes. As part of this, Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) (due for approval by October 2016) require local NHS organisations to join together and develop health and care service plans that are place-based. The Kings Fund argues that that shift to place-based planning should include "collaboration with other services and sectors beyond the NHS to focus on the broader aim of improving population health and wellbeing - not just on delivering better quality and more sustainable health care services". It is on this basis that NGN is seeking to research and pilot a revised and more inclusive criteria for connecting vulnerable households to the gas network than is currently included in the eligibility criteria of the Fuel Poor Network Extension Scheme. This would represent a voluntary and proactive move on the part of NGN, and relates to the need to identify ways in which specific bodies (in this case, GDNs), can apply the NICE guideline and evidence review to more effectively identify and engage with consumers who may be vulnerable to the health impacts of living in a cold home, and to design and target interventions to provide appropriate assistance. It would also mean that GDNs can contribute to the practical integration of preventative work to treat cold homes (carried out in partnership across sectors) with the alleviation of clinical pressure on the NHS. It therefore integrates GDNs and their service offerings for vulnerable consumers into a pathway for achieving Public Health and NHS outcomes. This proposal is designed to identify and set out a pathway for enabling the incorporation of health eligibility and environmental benefit criteria into the operations of a specific industry sector: Gas Distribution Networks. It represents the next steps that are needed to ensure the NICE recommendations can be implemented across the range of bodies needed, and to develop grid connection procedures which encompass the full range of vulnerabilities produced by cold homes, rather than focusing on narrow indicators of need.Note : Project Documents may be available via the ENA Smarter Networks Portal using the Website link above
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 09/08/18