This section highlights the key national and devolved policies for addressing the drivers of fuel poverty.
The Governments Fuel Poverty Strategy
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has recently published a report – Sustainable Warmth Protecting Vulnerable Households in England (February 2021). ( Sustainable warmth: protecting vulnerable households in England (publishing.service.gov.uk)). The report highlights the strategies and policies to address fuel poverty. This strategy is designed to ensure that people in fuel poverty have access to affordable, low-carbon warmth and help in the transition to net zero and the work required to meet the fuel poverty targets.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have said-
Fuel poverty is the problem faced by households living on a low income in a home which, cannot be kept warm at reasonable cost. Sustainable Warmth, the updated Fuel Poverty Strategy for England, sets out how we will tackle fuel poverty, while at the same time decarbonising buildings, so that those in fuel poverty are not left behind on the move to net zero, and, where possible, can be some of the earliest to benefit.
The strategy announces the expansion of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which will run from 2022 to 2026, with an increase in value from £640 million to £1 billion per year. The updated strategy additionally announces details of new funding of £150 million for the Home Upgrade Grant.
It builds on the 2015 fuel poverty strategy, and is supported by feedback from the 2019 consultation on a fuel poverty strategy for England.
The fuel poverty target and carbon reduction targets for England
The fuel poverty target is –
The fuel poverty target is to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of Band C, by 2030.
Along with the fuel poverty strategy, the government has also set targets for net zero and carbon emission reductions –
The target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050
In order to meet the targets the government have set up polices and funding mechanisms for Local authorities.
This section summarises the most relevant National policies, professional organisation polices and Local policies to address fuel poverty and health inequalities. In line with government recommendations, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, along with dealing with Fuel Poverty are also looking at a Climate Change policy and ways to meet the net zero target set by government.
Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a Government energy efficiency scheme in Great Britain to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. ECO is an obligation placed on the largest energy suppliers to provide funds to support households install energy efficiency improvements, including insulation and some heating improvements in low income and vulnerable households.
Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)
The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), are a minimum energy efficiency level for domestic private rented properties, set and enforced by the government. This standard applies to all domestic private rented properties that are legally required to have
an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
Currently, unless a registered exemption applies, the minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) make it unlawful for residential landlords to let or continue to let certain domestic private rented property with an EPC rating of F or G.
Home Energy Conservation Act
The Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 (HECA) requires all local authorities (LAs) in England to submit reports to the Secretary of State demonstrating what energy conservation measures they have adopted to improve the energy efficiency of residential accommodation within that Local Authority’s area. This covers measures to improve properties in the owner-occupier, private rented sector, and social rented sector. The Local authority is required to report to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) every 2 years. The latest HECA report was in 2021.
Clink on link below to see the Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council HECA report
Housing Health Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
The housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) is a risk-based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings. It focuses on identifying and tackling the hazards that are most likely to be present in housing to make homes healthier and safer to live in.
The system can deal with 29 hazards relating to:
- Dampness, excess cold/heat
- Pollutants e.g. asbestos, carbon monoxide, lead
- Lack of space, security or lighting, or excessive noise
- Poor hygiene, sanitation, water supply
- Accidents – falls, electric shocks, fires, burns, scalds
- Collisions, explosions, structural collapse
Each hazard is assessed separately, and if judged to be ‘serious’, with a ‘high score’, is deemed to be a category 1 hazard. All other hazards are called category 2 hazards.
The Cold Weather Plan
The Cold Weather Plan for England (CWP) aims to prevent the major avoidable effects on health during periods of cold weather by raising both professional and public awareness. The plan is produced by the Department of Health, Public Health England and NHS England
Copy of the plan can be found at –
The Cold Weather Plan for England: Protecting health and reducing harm from cold weather (publishing.service.gov.uk)
Joint Strategic Needs Assessment 2020
The purpose of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) is to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community and reduce inequalities for all communities. The core aim of the JSNA is to develop local evidence based priorities for commissioning.
The Blackburn with Darwen Joint Strategic Needs Assessment looks at and helps professionals understand the needs and assets of Blackburn with Darwen and its residents. Overall, it’s about how the population of the borough is made up, what we know about how healthy it is, and the assets people and communities have to help them to stay healthy.
Copy of the Blackburn with Darwen JSA can be found at –
Joint strategic needs assessment | Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
Health and Wellbeing strategy
Blackburn with Darwen Health and Wellbeing Strategy looks at addressing poverty in its broadest sense, with fuel poverty as a key element within that. This is a key priority outlined in the borough’s Health and Wellbeing strategy. The Council is also working with Child Action on Poverty during 2021 to develop a plan for tackling child poverty in Blackburn with Darwen. This will also include raising awareness of fuel poverty, tackling the stigma associated with it and promoting the support available to residents in need of help.
Blackburn with Darwen Climate Emergency Action Plan
The Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 and pledged to be carbon neutral by 2030. A Climate Emergency Action Plan setting out how this would be achieved was published in February 2020 https://democracy.blackburn.gov.uk/documents/s9700/BwD%2520Climate%2520Emergency%2520Action%2520Plan.pdf
Tackling fuel poverty is one of the Plan’s objectives, as making homes more energy efficient can reduce emissions as well as bills.