Footprint Trust praises Government on tackling energy bills

The Island’s Footprint Trust charity has welcomed the Government’s statement to Parliament yesterday which will save the poorest households £1 billion a year on their fuel bills by setting legal targets to make their homes more energy efficient.

The much awaited announcement follows an independent review of the fuel poverty definition and target, and reforms set out in the Energy Act last year, where the Coalition Government repealed legislation to eradicate fuel poverty in England by 2016.

There are around 3.5 million households in fuel poverty in England. The corresponding figure for the Isle of Wight equates to 10,300 households and is the highest rate in SE England.* The Footprint Trust helps over 1,000 islanders every year, many of which are in fuel poverty, which is defined as spending 10% of their income on fuel for their home.

Ray Harrington-Vail, the Trust’s senior energy officer and National Heat Hero said,

“We are pleased at Government’s commitment to address the least energy efficient properties by 2020, but there is a significant risk that over a million fuel poor households will continue to live in hard to heat homes by 2025 and the £1billion savings on bills will not be achieved. This could leave the poorest households continuing to ration their heating over the next ten years and spending far more of their limited budgets on energy.”

“We would ask that the government moves quickly to ensure that hard-to-heat and hard-to-treat homes are targeted, as these are often the homes of those on the lowest incomes. The Trust urges the government to ensure that winter fuel payments are targeted to those in greatest need, and that schemes to provide those on very low income with grant-funded heating systems are made easier to apply for and not cut back on. “

“It is also our view that many substandard and poorly built properties should be demolished as part of national and local scheme. Some properties are so unfit for modern purpose that they have no place in a modern Britain committed to ending fuel poverty and reducing energy wastage. We need modern attractive eco-homes with low energy and water usage.

Older buildings of quality can be retro-fitted with insulation but concerns about tradition and heritage prevent them from being upgraded in the recent past. We see no good reason why many Victorian and Georgian homes could not have heritage-style wooden double glazed windows, for example.


*In 2010, 3.5 million households were in fuel poverty in England (DECC Annual Report on Fuel Poverty 2012). The corresponding figure for the Isle of Wight equates to 10,300 households and is the highest rate in the SE region. (IWC Joint Strategy Needs Assessment 2011-12).


Click to access 13-DECC-FuelPoverty.pdf