1-in-6 Leeds households trapped in fuel poverty as energy upgrades begin

With £16.8m to invest, the West Yorkshire city is pressing ahead with climate-friendly housing improvements, helping hundreds more residents set to benefit from cheaper energy bills as a result of becoming greener.

a sign on the side of a building reads leads city council

As of 2020, one-in-six households in Leeds are classed as being in fuel poverty – officially defined as living in relatively inefficient home and having an income below the poverty line after bills are paid. In a bid to try and deliver a solution to this crisis, and understanding there will now be significantly more people trapped in this situation following exponential increases in fuel prices since research was conducted, steps to address heat loss are now being prioritised. 

The fundamental goal is to improve insulation inside homes in the area. Meanwhile, appliances used to warm water and run central heating will also be upgraded in a bid to improve efficiency. Units that are included in the improvement works will see their charges for gas and electricity fall as consumption comes down. In turn, this has a direct impact on demand, effectively helping to reduce emissions at the supply end. 

‘The Net Zero Homes plan is our blueprint to help end Leeds’ contribution to climate change by making our homes better: meaning they are more affordable, healthier, greener, and more comfortable to live in,’ said Cllr Helen Hayden, Executive Member for Infrastructure and Climate at Leeds City Council.

‘From Holbeck to Holt Park, high-rise to homeowner, our actions have shown that helping Leeds’ households save money and energy has long been a priority for this council,’ she continued. ‘I am proud that this ambitious new plan goes further and thinks bigger—setting out how the council can work with partners locally, regionally, and nationally to help every household in Leeds enjoy the benefits of living in a climate-friendly home.’

As part of the scheme, policymakers in Leeds are also allocating funding to a new advisory service to help the public understand what upgrade initiatives are available to them. This offer will also clarify financing routes for eligible projects, drawing some inspiration from property-linked loans that are already proving popular in countries such as the US and Australia. 

Earlier this week, Environment Journal published an in-depth feature on how to better communicate with the public through messaging. Find out what tips and theories behavioural experts have for local authorities to improve engagement.

Image: Gary Butterfield



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