Great British Insulation Scheme: How to apply for free or cheap insulation

An insulated roof with scaffolding
The Great British Insulation Scheme could help the improve the UK's housing stock by making homes more energy efficient (Image credit: Getty)

The Great British Insulation Scheme is a newly-launched government programme to help homes improve their insulation — and policymakers claim it could save families an average of £400 a year on their energy bills.

Insulation helps homes reduce their energy use, slashing sky-high bills and help the UK slash its energy consumption. 

Insulating a wall is one of the best ways to improve a home's energy efficiency, and with hundreds of thousands of UK homes suffering from poor insulation the scheme could prove to be beneficial to homeowners in reducing their energy bills.

What is the Great British Insulation Scheme?

The great British Insulation Scheme is a £1 billion means-tested incentive that makes insulation free or cheaper for homes in England, Scotland, and Wales. 

The scheme, which was announced in November last year but opened this month for applications, aims to improve the existing housing stock's insulation. It also aims to support households that have so far been unable to benefit from existing government-funded schemes like the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

The government claims 300,000 homes will be able to apply. on top of the 2.4 million homes that have so far benefited from new energy-efficiency measures under existing support schemes.

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said: “Boosting the energy efficiency of homes creates the best long-term protection against fuel poverty for the most vulnerable. “That’s why we are helping families with extra support to make their homes warmer, while saving hundreds on energy costs,” he explained.

Why is an insulation scheme needed in the UK?

The UK is home to some of the worst insulated housing in Europe despite a number of insulation grants being offered. Basic insulation such as insulating a roof is lacking and is much needed to improve the energy efficiency of Britain's housing stock.

In fact, research by intelligent home climate management company tado° found that UK homes are losing heat three times faster than houses in Norway and Germany, highlighting just how inefficient British homes are.

What type of insulation can I get?

The types of insulation you can have installed in your home will depend on what an assessor decides your home needs. The options available include: 

  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Solid wall insulation (internal or external)
  • Loft insulation
  • Flat or pitched roof insulation
  • Underfloor insulation
  • Solid floor insulation
  • Park home insulation
  • Room-in-roof insulation

Am I eligible for the scheme?

Families in lower council tax bands with less energy-efficient homes can apply for upgrades such as roof, loft or cavity wall insulation through the Great British Insulation Scheme. You will also need to be transparent about your household income, although it is not currently clear what the income limit is.

You don't have to be a homeowner or live in your home either, as tenants and landlords can apply too, although tenants are likely to need to ask permission before going ahead with insulating their home under the scheme.

Those eligible for support under the Great British Insulation Scheme include families in council tax bands A-D in England, A-E in Scotland and Wales, with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D or below. 

The scheme is not currently available for those in Northern Ireland.

How do I apply for an insulation grant?

Applicants can apply via the government's online checker for the Great British Insulation Scheme. They will first need to find out if they are eligible.

The tool will ask a series of questions - including how they heat their home, whether their home has solid or cavity walls, and if they are receiving any benefits. Applicants can also call 0800 098 7950 for support.

To go ahead with the scheme you will also need to agreed to an assessor visiting your home to check what insulation is needed.

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.