Fuel poverty killing 4 times more than road accidents
Published by Andrew Eagles for Sustainable Homes in Housing and also in Communities, Environment
65 people are dying a day from fuel poverty, a number that is four times a year greater than those dying on our roads. These figures, from fuel poverty expert Professor Christine Liddell of the University of Ulster, show fuel poverty significantly higher than government estimates.
Fuel poverty occurs where a person is required to spend 10 per cent or more of their income on heating their home. The new total is calculated using World Health Organisation guidance and official excess winter death figures.
The previous Government estimate put the total of deaths relating to fuel poverty at just 2,700 a year. That was included in a report last year by Professor John Hills. Yet the latest Office of National Statistics figures show that there were 25,700 excess winter deaths in England and Wales in winter 2010. The latest WHO research suggests that 30 to 40 per cent of the excess winter deaths can be attributed to fuel poverty.
“The 2,700 figure published by Professor Hills is peculiar. I see no justification for it,” said Professor Liddell. “I believe the figure of 7,800 is much more realistic as it is based on WHO’s most recent estimates of deaths relating to cold and damp homes.”
Camco, the clean energy and carbon emissions reduction company, warned that there will be 9.1m households living in fuel poverty by 2016 – the year the Government has pledged to end the problem.
Professor Liddell warned that it’s not just the elderly who can become victims. “Among the excess winter deaths you can even see healthy people as young as 50,” she said.
Green party leader Caroline Lucas is disappointed with energy companies pricing strategies. “It is completely outrageous that the Big Six energy firms are able to rake in eye-watering profits as people up and down the country are forced to choose between heating their homes and feeding their families.”
On 28th September in London and 10th October in Manchester Sustainable Homes and partners are holding a national fuel poverty conference. Speakers include Brenda Boardman, Emeritus Professor, Oxford University, Sally Hancox, MBE, of Gentoo Housing Group and David Shewan, Parity Projects, who will outline the fuel poverty analysis undertaken of a housing association.
Want to understand fuel poverty better or gain ideas about potential solutions? Come along. CLICK HERE