Fuel poverty and the leakiest homes in Europe: how we can do more

Annie Owens CIH policy and practice officer 4

On Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, Annie Owens argues housing developers and ministers must recognise the role they can play in delivering warm and dry homes

Today (December 2) marks National Energy Action’s Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. This year we’re all far too aware of fuel poverty; the war in Ukraine has pushed fuel prices up enormously across the world, and even with government support average household energy bills in the UK this winter will be 96% more than last year. As a result, around seven million households will be in fuel poverty this winter. This could rise to 8.6 million households in April when average energy bills will go up to £3,000 per year.

The human impact of living in cold homes is devastating. They can cause and worsen respiratory issues, cardiovascular diseases, and dementia, as well as contributing to poor mental health and limiting childhood development. Furthermore, cold homes are more susceptible to problems with damp and mould, which the housing sector is now all too aware can have fatal consequences.

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