Modelling the Impact of Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency on Health

Author: Dr Ben Wheeler
Organisation:
University of Exeter Medical School
Date: 2018
Location: England

Fuel poverty poses a distinct societal and healthcare burden. Official fuel poverty statistics show that around 11% of households in England are affected. These health and housing inequalities persist despite the knowledge that cold homes increase the risk of damp- and cold-related morbidity and mortality. This has been articulated in a number of landmark publications such as the 1980 Black Report, the 1998 Acheson Report and the 2010 Marmot Report, which called for improved household energy efficiency across the social gradient. Well-designed home energy efficiency improvements (e.g.

Low-carbon Heat and Rural Fuel Poverty: Lessons from across Europe

Author: Jennifer Hannam
Organisation:
Community Energy Plus
Date: 2017
Location: Europe

The UK is performing poorly in terms of carbon emissions reduction and the delivery of renewable heat infrastructures in comparison with other EU Member States. In general, most extant guidance and policy on delivering low-carbon  infrastructures have focused on urban settings. This is partly because it is envisaged that the density of properties in such settings will lead to higher aggregate carbon savings than in other locations.

An Assessment Tool for Low Income/High Costs (LIHC) Fuel Poverty (Three-stage Project) Research Report to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Citizens Advice, National Energy Action and EAGA Charitable Trust

Author: Richard Moore (independent consultant
Organisation:
Jointly funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Citizens Advice
National Energy Action and EAGA Charitable Trust
Date: 2017
Location: England

Given the need to demonstrate progress in tackling fuel poverty, having access to a statistically sound evidence base that can both map fuel poverty and assess the impact of interventions is vital. However, calculating whether a household is in fuel poverty has proved methodologically challenging on a number of levels, and defining an agreed threshold has also been problematic. In 2012, a new fuel poverty indicator for England was introduced following the recommendations of the Hills Review.

Fuel Poverty and Disabled People: The Impact of Policy Change

Author: Carolyn Snell
Organisation:
Department of Social Policy and Social Work
University of York
Date: 2013
Location: England

Major policy changes are taking place in the welfare system, with greater restrictions on access and downward pressure on payments. In parallel, the government is reducing funding for measures targeted at alleviating or eradicating fuel poverty and placing an increased responsibility on energy suppliers to tackle the problem. People with disabilities are identified as vulnerable to fuel poverty, but the interactions between policy on energy and welfare reform, disability and experiences of fuel poverty are poorly understood. This research aimed to redress this evidence gap.  

Too Big to Be Warm – Fuel Poverty and Under-occupation in Private Homes

Author: Trevor Houghton
Organisation:
National Right to Fuel Campaign
Date: 2012
Location: England

The UK Fuel Poverty Strategy (2001) indicated that households experiencing the most severe fuel poverty were more likely to be found in larger properties and that older people were particularly at risk. Other research concluded that under-occupation was more prevalent in the private sector, especially among owner-occupiers, but that most householders were satisfied with their current space and did not intend to downsize.  

Ideological Alleviants: A Comparative Analysis of Fuel Poverty Policy

Author: Susan Dodd
Organisation:
University of York
Date: 2012
Location: International

Fuel poverty has become a recognised concept in the UK, and a growing body of research is dedicated to aspects of this issue. However, the subject remains relatively undeveloped in many other nations, with little awareness or discussion, even though activities that would be characterised in the UK as fuel poverty alleviation are often undertaken. There is no international platform for discussing policy and practice, nor is there any comparative research beyond the EU that seeks to relate the contexts and approaches in different countries. 

Qualifying and Quantifying Fuel Poverty across the European Union Using Consensual Indicators

Author: Harriet Thomson
Date: 2011
Location: Europe

The rise of fuel poverty as a policy issue across the EU poses questions about whether a common understanding of the concept exists among Member States and the implications of this for developing future strategies and action. The UK and Ireland are regarded as having a reasonably advanced level of debate, but this is not the case among other nations within the Union. While EU policy on common energy frameworks relating to issues such as climate change and energy markets is fairly advanced, fuel poverty has received much less attention.

Costs of the ECO: The Impact on Low Income Households

Author: Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE)
Date: 2011
Location: UK

Historically, government initiatives to support the UK to move towards low-carbon energy have been resourced through levies on energy companies, which, in turn, have passed on the cost to consumers in the form of higher bills (referred to as ‘cost pass-through’). The introduction of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which is planned for 2013, is intended to provide the finance for the Green Deal and other core fuel poverty programmes. As with earlier schemes, the costs may be transferred to energy consumers, but the impacts of this are under-researched.

Costs of the ECO: the impact on fuel poverty

Date: 2011
Location: UK

Historically, government initiatives to support the UK to move towards a low carbon environment have been resourced through levies on energy companies, which, in turn, have passed on the cost to consumers in the form of higher bills (referred to as ‘cost pass-through’). The introduction of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), planned for 2013, is intended to provide the finance for the Green Deal and other core fuel poverty programmes. Like earlier schemes, the costs may be transferred to energy consumers, but the nature of such impact is unknown.

The Fuel Poverty Subsidiary Study (FPSS): Health, Mental Health and Housing Conditions in England

Author: Jenny Harris
Organisation:
NatCen
Date: 2010

Previous research has indicated that poor housing is linked to physical health problems and psychological distress. However, it was not known if this also applied to diagnosable psychiatric illnesses. The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS) questionnaire collects data on the prevalence of common diagnosable mental health disorders in the UK population. In 2007, the survey asked participants a series of questions on energy consumption, fuel poverty and housing conditions.

Distributional Impacts of UK Climate Change Policies

Author: Ian Preston
Organisation:
Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE)
Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE)
Date: 2010
Location: UK

In 2009, the UK government introduced the Low Carbon Transition Plan (LCTP), which mapped out how the nation would move towards a renewable-energy-based and low-carbon system. While this programme offered the prospect of a significant improvement to the nation’s housing stock, it was unclear what obligations the domestic sector would have in meeting the financial liabilities for implementing this strategic vision. A proper assessment of the resources needed to fulfil the policies, alongside an evaluation of how the costs could be distributed, was essential.

Fuel Poverty and the New Local Authority Performance Framework: Change for the Better?

Author: Kazi Hossain
Organisation:
Imperial College
Date: 2009
Location: England

In the mid-2000s, the UK government introduced a new framework for measuring the progress of local government in key public service agendas. This required every local authority (LA) in England to select a dashboard of indicators that best reflected their local priorities (plus a list of statutory measures) from a suite of 200 as the basis for a customised Local Area Agreement (LAA). Among the full list was NI187 ‘Tackling Fuel Poverty’.

The Dynamics of Bad Housing on the Living Standards of Children – Evidence from the Families and Children Study (FACS)

Author: Matt Barnes
Organisation:
National Centre for Social Research (NatCen)
Date: 2008
Location: England

The UK government has made tackling poor housing a priority, particularly in the social housing sector and through criteria such as the Decent Homes Standard. At the same time, rising energy prices are believed to contribute to greater levels of fuel poverty, which affects low-income families, many of whom live in lower-quality properties. While a tacit link between inferior housing and negative outcomes for children has long been accepted, there remains a gap in knowledge about how this is manifested and what exactly the causal relationship is.

How Much? The Cost of Alleviating Fuel Poverty

Author: Ian Preston
Organisation:
Centre for Sustainable Energy
Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE).
Date: 2008
Location: UK

Tackling fuel poverty requires significant capital investment, but it is also important to ensure that measures are directed at those who most need them in order to optimise the outcomes with regard to policy objectives. Understanding whether current delivery mechanisms are adequately funded and are effectively targeting fuel poor households is essential, not least because legal commitments exist to eliminate fuel poverty.

Quantifying and Classifying Rural Fuel Poverty

Author: William Baker
Organisation:
CSE
Date: 2008
Location: England

The Warm Front programme was introduced in 2000 as the central plank in the UK Government’s policy to tackle fuel poverty through practical measures to increase energy efficiency in domestic housing. However, rural and urban homes may present different challenges for such schemes owing to dissimilarities in property type, household demographics and access to energy supplies.

Tackling Barriers to the Take-up of Fuel Poverty Alleviation Measures

Author: Lyn Dodds
Organisation:
Northumbria University Sustainable Cities Research Institute
Date: 2008
Location: England

Despite considerable work around the take-up of fuel poverty alleviation programmes, prior to this project work had generally focused on or drawn upon evidence from frontline managers and other stakeholders. In comparison, research drawing on the insights of end users had been minimal.  

Cold and Poor: An Analysis of the Link between Fuel Poverty and Low Income

Author: Guy Palmer
Organisation:
New Policy Institute
Date: 2008

It is widely accepted that a close association exists between low income and fuel poverty and that policies designed to raise (or maximise) income and tackle poverty will benefit fuel poor households. Nonetheless, the exact relationships are not well known. Current policy on fuel poverty primarily focuses on energy efficiency measures, with little consideration of the role of income, while anti-poverty strategies largely omit fuel poverty. This has significant implications for future approaches, particularly so at a time when charges for domestic fuel are increasing rapidly. 

The Fuel Poverty Indicator – Predicting Fuel Poverty at the Local Level

Author: William Baker
Organisation:
Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE)
Date: 2006

Eliminating fuel poverty in the UK became government policy in 2003, and subsequently national performance indicators were developed to monitor the progress of local areas. Achieving this by the target date of 2016 requires not only sufficient resources but also a clear method for identifying where investment should be directed for maximum effect and how change can be monitored at local and national levels. 

Affordable Warmth in ‘Hard to Heat’ Homes: A Progress Report

Author: Jacky Pett
Organisation:
Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE)
Date: 2004
Location: UK

A significant number of domestic properties in the UK are classed as ‘hard to heat’. These are often older, solid wall houses, which present particular challenges for retrofit and other energy conservation measures. Earlier studies have outlined the nature of the problem and proposed ways forward. The introduction of the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy in 2001 and improved awareness of the issues surrounding hard-to-heat housing have generated an increased focus on this challenge.

AIMING HIGH – An Evaluation of the Potential Contribution of Warm Front towards Meeting the Government’s Fuel Poverty Target in England

Author: Tom Sefton
Organisation:
Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE)
London School of Economics
Date: 2004
Location: England

In 2001, the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy made a commitment to eliminate fuel poverty within a decade. Achieving this will require a significant improvement on existing levels of progress. A number of different national energy programmes offer substantial scope to make progress in this area but currently prioritise other outcomes. As a result, their potential to eliminate fuel poverty is not being realised. 

A Review of English Local Authority Fuel Poverty Reports and Strategies

Author: Impetus Consulting and the Association for the Conservation of Energy
Date: 2003

The growing importance of tackling fuel poverty at a national level has been reflected in a number of ways, including the development of legislation (e.g. the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000) and major policy initiatives such as the Fuel Poverty Strategy, as well as large-scale government investment in energy efficiency schemes such as Warm Front and Warm Zones. As part of this, since 2000 local authorities in England have been required to report their progress to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on an annual basis by virtue of their designation as 

Developing a Methodology to Evaluate the Outcome of Investment in Affordable Warmth

Author: Janet Rudge
Organisation:
Low Energy Architecture Research Unit
School of Architecture and Interior Design
University of North London
Date: 2001
Location: England

Cold homes are believed to be a significant factor in excess winter deaths recorded in the UK, and low internal and/or external temperatures are associated with ill health, but it has often been a challenge to demonstrate a causal link because of the complex variables involved and the prohibitive expense of dedicated research. It is often assumed that low-income households are at a high risk in this respect, being less able to afford to heat their homes or pay for improvements and more likely to live in properties in poor repair.

Advice into Action – An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Energy Advice to Low-income Households

Author: Julia Green
Organisation:
Energy Inform Ltd.
Environmental Change Unit
University of Oxford Environmental Change Unit
University of Oxford)
Date: 1998

A wide variety of services now offer energy advice to members of the public, from energy suppliers to social housing providers. Improving domestic energy efficiency and reducing fuel poverty are core objectives of such provision, but in order to assess whether this advice is having a positive impact on households it is important that such initiatives should be subjected to robust evaluation. Such appraisals are also valuable for identifying examples of good practice, which can be promoted across the sector.

Making Cold Homes Warmer – The Effect of Energy Efficiency Improvements in Low-income Homes

Author: Geoffrey Milne
Organisation:
Environmental Change Unit
University of Oxford
Date: 1997
Location: UK

Domestic energy efficiency improvements are undertaken with the intention of reducing energy demand and consumption, since less fuel is needed to heat the house to a comfortable level. In doing so, it is assumed that this will reduce the amount households spend on fuel and deliver more affordable warmth. However, some of the ‘gains’ may be offset by a general increase in internal temperatures following improvements as householders use the monetary savings to fund warmer homes, a phenomenon known as ‘temperature takeback’.

The Housing and Heating of Low-income Households

Author: Sandra Hutton
Organisation:
Social Policy Research Unit
University of York
Date: 1997
Location: England

The term ‘low-income households’ is commonly used in studies of domestic energy use. Invariably, the assumption is made that all households that fall within this classification face similar risks. However, this category covers a multitude of property formats of different ages and builds, as well as a variety of household types and a considerable spectrum of incomes. Understanding which households are most vulnerable is important to be able to effectively target interventions.

Fuel Poverty, Energy Efficiency and Health

Author: Melanie Henwood
Date: 1997

Although a significant body of work has developed on the relationships between cold, inefficient and damp homes and poor health, no detailed overview has been produced. As major investment and strategic policy on tackling fuel poverty gather pace in the UK, it is essential to have a clear insight into the main themes emerging from this research in order to shape and influence national and local approaches and also to identify future research priorities.

Fuel Poverty in Northern Ireland

Author: Brian Harvey
Organisation:
National Energy Action Northern Ireland
Date: 1997
Location: Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland operates a devolved government administration and has developed variations of housing and energy policies that are distinct from those in other UK regions. Even before this, housing strategies developed along unique pathways. Therefore, policies designed on the basis of evidence from other parts of the UK or beyond may not be appropriate for Northern Ireland and their approaches may not be relevant.

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