To date, research on fuel poverty has neglected the specific issues affecting households in rural areas.
Key research Question
The objective was to undertake a detailed assessment of the nature of rural fuel poverty in South West England. More specifically, the study aimed to determine whether low-income households were experiencing fuel poverty, detect any differences between urban and rural areas and identify solutions for alleviating this issue in a rural context. As a consequence, it is expected that the data gathered will provide lessons that are applicable across the country.
Summary of activity
The research involved a questionnaire survey, which was completed by two groups of rural residents living in South West Wiltshire: social housing tenants in Salisbury and older people recruited via lunch clubs. These were compared with a control group comprising inhabitants of a village in West Wiltshire.
The main findings covered six themes:
The authors structure their recommendations into seven areas with the overall aim of alleviating rural poverty in the South West Wiltshire Rural Development Area (RDA).