The awesome Temple of Peace, on the University of Cardiff campus, seemed a totally fitting venue for a gathering of 40 or sopractitioners and researchers, all passionate about fuel poverty and conscious of its meaning for social justice and people’s health.
We grappled with the enormity of the task of increasing energy efficiency in the housing stock, from Wales to Manchester to the Outer Hebrides (cutting peat to keep warm in your 80s?), and all places in between. We heard about inspiring projects in Wales, from tackling the roots of energy vulnerability, to building energy resilience, from the strategic commitment of the Welsh Government, to creating warm homes one-by-one.
The complexity of fuel poverty – and of the search for its solutions – was emphasised by the range of connections that we discussed –connections with health, energy pricing, technology, isolation and social engagement, transport, air quality, gender equality, and more. Discussion returned frequently to the question of energy justice and how to avoid the risk of worsening fuel poverty in the transition to a zero-carbon economy.
We challenged what ‘cost effectiveness’ means in the context of increasing energy efficiency, when the health and social costs of fuel poverty are so often ignored in the calculation, let alone the cost to the planet. Throughout the event, from our eminent keynote speakers, Prof Phil Jones of the Welsh School of Architecture and Brenda Boardman of ECI at Oxford University, to the newest researchers and practitioners, it was the human dimension of fuel poverty and the search for people-centred solutions that quite rightly dominated the discussion.
The unexpected factor of meeting in the run-up to theElection, focused our minds on the role of government in tackling fuel poverty.We heard that all the main parties have committed to spend new money on this. Now’s the opportunity to lobby PPCs on this issue and, whatever happens on 12thDecember, hold them to their promises!
Finally, we shared our thoughts on the ongoing work of FPRN and reasserted what we want from the Network: to build understanding of this wicked issue, to grow wider and stronger networks, and, above all, to influence change. The task is as daunting as ever, but the event was a shot of inspiration, a great place to make and renew contacts, and a timely reminder of the change that informed, determined, groups of people can and do make.
Diolch am groesawu y RhwydwaithYmchwil Tlodi Tanwydd i Gaerdydd
Thank you for welcoming the Fuel Poverty Research Network to Cardiff
Download the Event Programme (pdf)
Presentations from the Event
Day 1 – Monday 25th November
- Keynote: Professor Phil Jones Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University Housing and Energy: Developments in New Build and Retrofit (8.5mb pdf)
Lightning Talks (1)
- Hosein Abassi, Liverpool John Moores University Mandating the end of fossil-fuel heating systems in the UK houses: new opportunity or challenge for fuel poverty
- Graeme Sherriff, University of Salford Fuel poverty in the Outer Hebrides (0.3mb pdf)
- Helen Melone, Energy Action Scotland Fuel poverty and gender (0.6mb pdf)
- Simon Lannon, Cardiff University The impact of decarbonisation of the Welsh housing stock on fuel poverty (4.8mb pdf)
- Adam Scorer, National Energy Action UK Fuel Poverty Monitor (0.4mb pdf)
- Abi Woodham and Gowan Watkins, Welsh Government What do the latest National Statistics tell us about fuel poverty in Wales? (3.3nb pdf)
- Fiona Shirani, Cardiff University ‘We can’t afford to be green’ – experiences of energy vulnerability and innovation in the South Wales Valleys (1.4mb pdf)
Day 2 – Tuesday 26th November
- Keynote: Brenda Boardman, Emeritus Fellow, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford New frontiers for fuel poverty research (5.3mb pdf)
Lightning Talks (2)
- Bethan Clarke, Bridgend Citizens Advice Citizens Advice and the British Gas Energy Trust (1.2mb pdf)
- Max Lacey-Barnacle, Energy Savings Trust Fuel and Transport Poverty in the UK’s Energy Transition (9mb pdf)
- Jenny Brierley, University of Sheffield Energy, Equity and Fresh Air (7.9mb pdf)
- Nicky Hodges and Ellie Stevens, Centre for Sustainable Energy, Bristol Slow cooked ideas to build energy resilience in deprived communities (8.6mb pdf)
- Aneaka Kellay, Carbon Co-op, Manchester Points of View – centring residents in the design of energy efficiency schemes (1.5mb pdf)
- Juliet Morris, Project Development Officer, Care and Repair Cymru It’s cold in them there hills – fuel poverty experiences in Wales (3.6mb pdf)
- Simone Lowthe-Thomas, Severn-Wye Energy Agency Health, housing and fuel poverty (2.5mb pdf)
- Sian Morrison-Rees, Swansea University Evaluating the impacts on health outcomes of Welsh Government funded schemes designed to improve the energy efficiency of the homes (2.2mb pdf)