Dame Ellen gets heated about Island Fuel Poverty

As household fuel prices soar and Christmas approaches, the Footprint Trust’s Warmahome project will highlight the fact that the elderly and vulnerable can get help towards new heating systems and help with insulation.

Dame Ellen MacArthur, the round the world yachtswoman who lives on the Isle of Wight and who has a keen interest in looking at ways in which people and businesses can save energy, commented:

“It would be really sad if there are still people here on the Island whose houses aren’t insulated, when they could get this done free of charge. Anyone over 70, or anyone on benefits living in their own home or who has a private landlord, can get free loft and wall insulation to keep them warm and help them save them hundreds of pounds this winter!”

“Thanks to the Footprint Trust’s Warmahome project and the ‘Warm One’ initiative which will be launched by the IW Council soon, the systems are now in place to do this, and I really hope that everyone who can takes it up!”

Speaking for the Footprint Trust Ray Harrington-Vail said,

“We are pleased that Dame Ellen has spoken out on this issue. It will highlight that fact that the elderly and vulnerable can get help towards new heating systems and help with insulation.

The Footprint Trust have been able to negotiate a special rate on loft and cavity insulation whereby many local homeowners will get it free or at a greatly reduced rate. For more details please contact them on 82-22-82. They also offer free home visits to give guidance on fuel efficiency.

We are also looking forward to the Council’s ‘Warm One’ initiative, which will be used to bridge the gap between government help and local needs with some £500,000.”

The Isle of Wight has the highest level of fuel poverty amongst the 9 counties in the South East. All but one IW Ward falls within the worse areas. Areas of Newport, Ryde and Cowes are amongst the poorest in the South East. (A Profile of Fuel poverty in the SE Region. GOSE Regional Health Group 2004.)

When it comes to fuel poverty the Private Sector House Condition Survey (2002) put the Island figure at 7.4% of households (approx 4,500) although a report by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (2004) puts the figure at 25%, giving the Isle of Wight the highest rate of fuel poor households in the South East. Fuel Poverty is defined as the need to spend over 10% of household income on fuel costs. A 1% rise in energy prices forces some 40,000 households into fuel poverty (*NEA)

Fuel poverty is known to be related to housing conditions. On the Isle of Wight over 70% of post 1919 houses have no cavity insulation. Of homes built between 1945 and 1964 some 12.5% have no loft insulation. A very high percentage of all dwellings do not have the full 250mm(10 inches) of loft insulation. Nearly 11,000 homes (24%) on the Island are poorly insulated, which is a worse than the national average. (IWC 2002 Private Sector House Condition Survey.)

Householders aged 60 and over make up 52% of fuel poor on Island and families with children 37%. As expected fuel poverty disproportionately affects single parent households, the retired and those in receipt of means-tested benefits. It also affects a higher proportion of social and private-rented housing, although the greatest number of fuel-poor households are owner-occupied.


*NEA – National Energy Action.

To contact the Footprint Trust Tel 01983 822282