Brid’s fuel problems

Jane Evison
Jane Evison

AREAS of Bridlington have the highest percentage of homes in fuel poverty in the East Riding, according to a new report.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (Defra) released figures for 2009 last week that showed parts of Bridlington struggles with fuel poverty - where a household has to spend more than 10 per cent of its income on fuel to maintain a satisfactory level of heating - more than any other part of the East Riding.

Out of 677 households in an area surrounding the harbour, which takes in town centre properties and some streets off Hilderthorpe road, 254 are in fuel poverty, 37.5 per cent of the total and the highest percentage in the East Riding.

Another area covering properties in the streets around West Street had 36.9 per cent of properties in fuel poverty, while the area covering the rest of the town centre recorded 34.6 per cent and another covering households off Promenade and the North Promenades recording 32.5 per cent - considerably higher than the East Riding average of 19.3 per cent.

In producing the figures, Defra split Bridlington and its surrounding villages into 25 areas with roughly the same population, with only five of those having fewer households in fuel poverty than the East Riding average. The lowest percentage was 14.3 per cent which covered an area around The Crayke, north of Martongate.

A report to an East Riding council committee in June, using figures from 2008, identified Bridlington as having a major problem with fuel poverty.

Despite the reduced sources of national funding now available, the council say since the problem was highlighted they are setting aside money to continue its cavity wall and loft insulation scheme, which some residents can get for free, while others pay a reduced rate of £99 for cavity wall and £109 for loft insulation.

Councillor Jane Evison, portfolio holder for rural issues and cultural services, said: “It is good, and a wise use of resources, that the council is helping residents to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, cut costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

“These measures are particularly useful to people in rural areas who have a limited choice of traditional fuels and very often properties that are difficult and expensive to heat.

“Fuel poverty is a real concern and anything the council can do to help is to be welcomed and applauded.”

At the November 15 meeting of the council’s health, care and wellbeing sub-committee, councillors received a draft Affordable Warmth Strategy report by Matthew Lewer, Special Projects Officer for Housing and resolved to support efforts to raise energy efficiency in East Riding homes.

The sub-committee will also explore the levels of enforcement being used by the council to tackle energy inefficient homes in the private rental sector, and the possibility of establishing bulk fuel buying groups for communities, while continuing to support no cold calling zones.

Friends of the Earth’s Yorkshire campaigner Simon Bowens said: “Millions of people up and down the country will face tough choices this winter – like whether to feed their family or heat their home.

“Rising gas prices mean the big energy companies are making billions in profits while people shiver in badly insulated homes.”