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Banishing fuel poverty in Enfield

Published Monday, 09 February 2015

A summit has been held to develop plans to eradicate fuel poverty in Enfield.

The borough Community Action Partnership which includes organisations such as Enfield Council, National Energy Action, Enfield Citizens Advice Bureau, Age Concern Enfield and British Gas met on 29 January to devise plans so that low-income and other vulnerable households in Enfield can afford to heat their homes. The partnership forms part of the Enfield 2020 sustainability programme to make Enfield a better place to live, work and visit.

Fuel poverty can have far reaching consequence and has been linked to problems such as:
• Poor health
• Increased winter deaths
• Debts to fuel companies and self-disconnections
• Marginalisation of people on low incomes within competitive energy markets
• Social exclusion
• Educational impact
• Poor comfort

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Cllr Alan Sitkin, said: “We are determined to tackle this complex and debilitating social phenomenon and Enfield Council is leading the way, through this Enfield 2020 project, to eradicate the root causes of fuel poverty in the borough by working with key partners.

“Around one in 11 households in Enfield are classed as fuel poor, that’s a lot of families, and tackling fuel poverty would have a significant impact on those who are struggling to live in warm, dry homes.

“Tackling this issue would mean benefits to the wider community far beyond those caused by better individual welfare; we’d see more people in jobs, a more vibrant economy and less pressure on health services locally.”

The Community Action Partnership is a national programme delivered by fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) and British Gas, in partnership with Councils across the UK. It will help to bring affordable energy and improve the lives and prosperity of residents in eight localities across England and Wales, equipping the local community with the tools they need to deal with fuel poverty in the future.

The meeting agreed the targets that should be achieved in the fight against fuel poverty, allocated responsibilities to the relevant organisations and decided which projects should be delivered to achieve those aims.

Projects which have been delivered in Enfield as part of the Enfield 2020 campaign to tackle this issue include the multi-million pound refurbishment of Scott House by British Gas. This made properties more energy efficient and saved residents up to £400 a year on their gas and electricity bills, and the collective energy switching project which gives residents the opportunity to use collective bargaining to drive down the cost of energy.

Enfield 2020’s annual report shows that carbon emissions in Enfield have dropped by 35 per cent in just five years, with the borough well on track to hit its target of a 40 per cent reduction by 2020.

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