HUNDREDS of people in Paisley are set to enjoy lower fuel bills and better home insulation thanks to a £6.8million scheme.

Around 500 properties in the Charleston area will benefit as a result of a partnership between Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Gas.

Work will involve replacing the existing district heating system with a centrally-sited, modern, wood-pellet-fired boiler.

Scottish Gas will fund the scheme and install the new, more energy efficient system.

It will give residents greater control over heating their homes which will help reduce fuel bills.

More than 460 homes in Calside Court, Hamilton Court, Rowan Court and Union Court high rise blocks and the seven maisonette blocks in Alice Street and Calside will be powered by the new boiler.

It is expected residents will use up to 30% less heat and that carbon dioxide emissions will be slashed by more than 90%.

Tommy Williams, convener of Renfrewshire Council's housing and community safety board, said: "This multi-million pound investment is excellent news for people living in the Charleston area.

"The district heating system is well past its sell by date and this new system will mean warmer homes and lower bills."

Ray Sanderson, head of commercial for Scottish Gas, said: "The residents will start to see real improvements in the months to come as we invest in this large scale project that will help tackle fuel poverty."

Meetings have been held with tenants to inform them about the plan and a show flat has been set up to let them see how the new heating system will look in their homes.