Six tonnes of the proceeds from the solar park near Smilde go towards making village houses in Central Drenthe more sustainable

Midden-Drenthe wants to allocate an additional 600,000 euros in the coming years to make the nineteen village houses in the municipality more sustainable. Alderman Jan Schipper announced this on Thursday evening during the budget meeting.

Last month, the municipal council already determined that 200,000 euros would be earmarked for next year to make village houses more energy efficient. The six hundred thousand euros that sustainability councilor Schipper announced on Thursday evening is intended for the next four years. The money comes from the proceeds of the municipal solar park Leemdijk near Smilde.

In addition, the mayor and aldermen want to spend 325,000 euros of the proceeds from the solar park on households that are not well off and want to make their homes more sustainable. For example, by better insulating village houses and homes, their energy bills will be reduced.

‘White goods exchange’

“With the money from the Leemdijk solar park, we can help village halls to reduce energy costs with concrete measures. Consider, for example, insulation and LED lighting,” says Alderman Schipper (CDA). “For households that have difficulty paying their energy bills, we are committed to a 100 percent insulation subsidy and a so-called white goods exchange. This means that they can exchange old, energy-guzzling appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines for new, energy-efficient ones.”

The municipal council will officially decide on the plan during the council meeting of December 14, but positive reactions could already be heard during the budget meeting.

The budget for next year was adopted by the full council on Thursday evening after a meeting that lasted more than five hours. This means, among other things, that Spier can also build a village hall. The initiators needed €200,000 from the municipality for this, which they will receive now that the budget for 2024 has been determined.

Tackling poverty

The council also determined that an action plan must be drawn up to ensure that residents and entrepreneurs who are experiencing financial difficulties know which schemes they can use. At the moment, not everyone knows where to turn for help, said Ageet van Dijken of the Christian Union. “Everyone who must and can use the poverty schemes must also be found.”

“It is important that not only are the arrangements good, but that there is also assistance to make use of those arrangements, because they are quite complex,” explained CDA councilor Egbert Kraal. “We have a social counselor in Central Drenthe, we have budget consultants, Humanitas and other aid agencies and yet we see that only a few tens of percent of that target group uses the schemes.”