Around 6,600 homes in Warwick district feel effects of fuel poverty, report shows

Warwick District Council has made an action plan to tackle fuel poverty
Warwick District Council has made an action plan to tackle fuel poverty

An action plan on fuel poverty is to be drawn up by Warwick District Council after a report revealed that around 6,600 homes within its boundaries were affected.

And data showed that in some areas, nearly one in five households were suffering fuel poverty - defined as having an income below the poverty line while having higher than typical energy costs.

Under Government legislation, local authorities need to explain what action is being taken to combat fuel poverty and to report on energy conservation measures. Updates are required every two years with the next one due from Warwick District Council in March 2019.

In her report to this week’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee, sustainability officer Alice Ellis explained that a university student on a summer placement with the council had compiled data to help form an action plan.

Councillors were told that 19 per cent of households in the Brunswick ward suffered fuel poverty with 18 per cent in the neighbouring Leam ward also falling into that category. Across the whole area the latest figures, which date back to 2016, show that 11 per cent of households are in fuel poverty.

The officer also explained why it was important to address the issue.

She said: “The effects of fuel poverty result in cold and damp homes and reduced income and lifestyle choices. Health related issues are costly to the NHS and the elderly, children and those in poor health and/or reduced mobility are most at risk.”

She added that the action plan and strategy would be put in place by next summer but that a number of things had already been done including training for staff so that they could help residents find basic energy saving advice and the staging of drop-in sessions at Brunswick Healthy Living Centre, the Packmores Centre and the Sydni Centre.

One thing that will be incorporated into the action plan is to encourage residents to look at installing renewable energy technology including solar panels. Work will also be carried out to make sure the council’s own housing stock will be as energy efficient as possible.