Tackling Fuel Poverty & Reducing Energy Inefficiency

Scottish Government funding of £2.364 million will benefit our region. The purpose of the funding is to tackle fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions in Dumfries and Galloway. The focus will be on whole street solid wall insulation, loft and cavity wall insulation, and a whole house approach to energy saving.

Energy efficiency improvement is a strategic infrastructure priority for the Scottish Government. Area Based Schemes (ABS) contribute to delivering wider aims, including ensuring fewer Scottish households experience fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty and reducing energy inefficiency.

The Dumfries and Galloway Local Housing Strategy 2018-23 seeks to maximise the use of funding to deliver energy efficiency measures to homes in the private sector. The scheme delivery is aligned with the Council Plan Principles and Themes, with a particular focus on Economy, and Health and Wellbeing. By reducing carbon emissions, the project also contributes to addressing the Climate Emergency.

Members of the Council’s Economy and Resources Committee (8 June) will be asked to agree on the projects for Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Energy Efficient Scotland Area Based Scheme (ABS) and note the funding allocation of £2,371,919 in 2023/24.
It has been shown that the patterns of deprivation in rural areas are complex, many households in rural areas live in poverty in dispersed locations. Therefore, our Council must continue efforts to ensure funding is targeted at those in most need. The ABS Projects have helped local residents save on fuel bills, improve health, combat climate change, and regenerate communities.

The report being presented at Committee recommends that our Council maintain its approach to ensure investment is evenly distributed to help address fuel poverty across the entire region, advocating the process refined to include the following:
• Area 1 – Central D&G SWI – This area will be a continued project targeting streets that extend the current Lochside Project and a previous project in the Lincluden area. (Targeting streets in the bottom 10% of the SIMD for income, health, and employment.)
• Area 2 – East D&G SWI – the focus of this area is to continue to target the rural areas that are in the bottom three deciles for geographical access based on data from SMID 2016. We will aim to install External Wall Insulation (EWI) to a mix of hard-to-treat cavity properties in Eastriggs. This area also has low-income indicators from the bottom 40% SMID 2016.
• Area 3 – West D&G SWI – this area will be a continued project targeting streets that extend the Stranraer Project. The targeted area of Stranraer is in the bottom 25% of the SMID or below and households in the region have a 60% probability of being in fuel poverty based on the current home analysis data.

Within each area, each householder application will be assessed to identify those in extreme fuel poverty. The extreme fuel poverty grant will be applied to maximise measures for those most in need. Whole street approaches are implemented by identifying more than one household and carrying out simultaneous works. This results in cost efficiencies, reduces customer contributions and allows more homes to benefit from the scheme.

Chair of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Economy and Resources Committee, Cllr Ian Carruthers, said: “As a result of the ongoing implementation of this successful programme, I am happy to see the progress made. Fuel poverty is an issue we are determined to address, and in our rural region, this scheme is essential. One of our core Council Plan Principles is to Support our Citizens. Schemes such as this allow us to do exactly that. In addition to tackling fuel poverty, which is absolutely crucial in light of the current cost of living crisis, making improvements to homes across the region also helps reduce our carbon footprint.”
Vice Chair, Cllr David Inglis, said: “Our Council is committed to addressing poverty in all its forms, including fuel poverty. Hopefully, the measures outlined in the report will help to reduce fuel poverty across our region to an even greater degree. To address some of the causes of poverty in a rural area like Dumfries and Galloway, this project is vital. We are confident that the whole street approach will help to target households in those areas across our region that are in need.”