Brighton and Hove City Council has declared fighting fuel poverty a local priority.
Working with the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, the councillors developed a motion to examine the ways the local authority can tackle the problem.
The Labour leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Nancy Platts, said:
More than one in ten households in Brighton and Hove live in fuel poverty – that is above average for the south east.
Cold homes are linked to illness and winter deaths during normal winter weather. But, as the temperature drops below 6C, winter death rates increase.
More people die from cold homes than they do alcohol, Parkinson’s disease or traffic accidents.
She led a debate about fuel poverty at a meeting of the full council at Hove Town Hall on Thursday (30 January).
Green group convenor Phélim Mac Cafferty said that people were forced to choose between heating and eating. Councillor Mac Cafferty said:
Access to sustainable energy is vital to keep our residents’ fuel bills down.
Renewable energy run by and for our communities offers all of us the opportunity to combat climate change, bring down fuel bills, improve energy efficiency and reach people in fuel poverty.
The Council motion pledges to examine ways that the authority can take action to tackle fuel poverty. All local authorities have measures at their disposal which can help fight the issue, these include:
- improving energy efficiency of Council / housing association housing stock
- better enforcement of existing regulations on energy efficiency and property standards
- publishing a statement of intent to access Energy Company Obligation funding via LA Flex
- improving tenants’ rights
- providing information advice and guidance to those most in need
Fuel Poverty Coalition members including the London Borough of Camden helped to identify the ways councils can help beat fuel poverty and a template motion for other local authorities to use is available from the Coalition by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Council has also pledged to join the End Fuel Poverty Coalition.
Image by Clive D / Flickr / Creative Commons