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Salford Community Initiatives To Tackle Fuel Poverty

With effects on health, education and employability, fuel poverty affects a growing number of people with a staggering 15% of households in the Broughton area of Salford classified as fuel poor [1]. Rebecca Long Bailey MP said:

‘‘One in ten households live in fuel poverty. An issue caused by rip-off prices, a broken energy system and a government that doesn’t want or care to make the real changes to our energy sector that will help customers.”

As part of Salford Building In Warmth, Carbon Co-op bought in Energy Consultant Diane Hubbard to conduct airtightness testing on four energy champions homes, highlighting the coldest, most draughty areas. The tests enabled local property maintenance and repairs service Helping Hands to make targeted and affordable improvements to homes with follow up airtightness tests used to investigate quality and impact. 

Handy people were able to make a 20% reduction in draughts in one home by sealing the pipework around a boiler. Megan, Energy Champion said:

“Now having had those problems resolved, it’s a lot cosier… I've told actually almost everyone I've met because it's been so exciting, I feel quite evangelical about the benefits… just getting small things done makes a difference” 

As seen in Fishwick, Preston [2] and Grenfell, London, energy efficiency projects where expertise and quality are not prioritised can be disastrous. Diane Hubbard, Energy Consultant, Green Footsteps said:

“It is vital that those undertaking energy efficiency home improvements for vulnerable householders are trained to undertake work to the highest standard. Without this training they not only risk their work not achieving the results they want but more importantly, they can put those living in homes at risk. It's great to see community initiatives in Salford doing things differently.” 

As Aneaka Kellay, Carbon Co-op said: 
“It's been great to work with Helping Hands. We hope it will lead to more effective airtightness measures making homes warmer and more healthy.” 

Rebecca Long Bailey MP said: 
“I’m very pleased to see the initiatives Carbon Co-op and other Salford social enterprise and community energy groups are taking to find ways to tackle this real issue and give people safer and warmer homes that we should all live in.”

Local Councillor Jim King said: 
“Fuel poverty is an urgent issue, we must prioritise improving the housing stock in the UK as a whole and in Salford. It's great to see initiatives in Salford taking place in which social enterprises and community energy groups can support each other's work and share expertise. This should result in warmer homes and happier and healthier families” 

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive, National Energy Action said:
“Everybody has the right to live in a warm and safe home but tragically, many people died needlessly last winter because of cold homes. Living in a cold damp home can also lead to extremely poor health, especially in those who are vulnerable such as young children, older people, and those with long term sickness and disabilities.”

“With fuel bills set to rise again, without urgent local and national action we are worried the same will keep happening each winter. As well as needless deaths and misery, this would continue to place a huge strain on our already stretched health services.” 

Call 07903 118994 for more information and interviews.

1. Salford City Council - Affordable Warmth, Strategic Action Plan – 2018/2021.
2. Disastrous Preston retrofit scheme remains unresolved, Kate de Selincourt, Passivehouse Plus 
3. Read more about Salford Building In Warmth