Fuel Poverty Evidence 2023 (accessible version)

Over the past year, experts associated with the Fuel Poverty Evidence project (FPE) and Fuel Poverty Research Network (FPRN) have been researching and collecting evidence on all aspects of the fuel poverty and energy crisis in the UK (and beyond). These initiatives have involved deep dives into various groups, issues, and policies, employing innovative, non-traditional methodological approaches. 

We are excited to share the substantial evidence and insights we have gathered throughout this period. The depth and richness of our findings, which vividly represent the real-life experiences of those affected by fuel poverty, are something we take immense pride in. We believe it is crucial for you, the recipient, to be fully informed and have access to this comprehensive body of knowledge as we enter another hard winter. 

Below you will find links to each of our key pieces of work with a brief summary highlighting the key takeaway. These are organised into four groups: 

1) Effects of Fuel Poverty

2) Groups at Risk

3) Policy Analysis

4) Solutions

If you would like to speak to any of the experts and authors, there is a link directly to the contact details of the lead author with each piece. You can also look in our Directory of Experts.

You can download the PDF version of the report.

Effects of Fuel Poverty

Danish mould or English Cold?

Blog, academic paper 

Denmark treats mould in housing as a significant health issue in itself, with strong policy and public awareness, whereas England views mould as secondary to broader issues like fuel poverty, with a tendency to blame tenants rather than addressing underlying building quality issues​.

Contact Sirid Bonderup, Lucie Middlemiss

This is Fuel Poverty


The Zine presents six stories about the lived reality of fuel poverty. The stories of Joao, Joe, Mary and David tell of people who felt trapped and powerless in a cold home. The stories of Samantha, Hector and Farah are more hopeful – they show that when the right funding and support is available, people’s circumstances can be improved.

Contact Neil Simcock

Testimonies from the energy crisis


In the winter of 2022-23, UK households faced significant challenges in maintaining energy security, resulting in strained finances, increased hidden labour, and social isolation, with many feeling they had reached the limit of their ability to conserve energy amid high inflation and interest rates.​

Contact Ed Atkins

Why heating your home this winter may be even harder than last year


Heating homes in the UK this winter will be harder due to increased energy prices and reduced government support, exacerbating fuel poverty and necessitating urgent, long-term solutions​.

Contact Aimee Ambrose

Forgotten residents: Considering the impact of retrofit on biodiversity


There are often-overlooked consequences of retrofitting on biodiversity, and thus there is a need for a more holistic approach to sustainability that balances carbon reduction with the preservation of nature. 

Contact Aimee Ambrose

Groups at risk

Looking at the data differently to highlight those left in the cold

Blog, academic paper

Disabled households in the EU consume 10% less energy and face higher energy poverty. This disparity isn’t due to choice but arises from financial constraints and policy neglect. There is an urgent need for inclusive policy-making that integrates the specific needs and challenges of disabled individuals, ensuring that environmental and energy policies do not inadvertently exacerbate their marginalisation.  

Contact Diana Ivanova

Bringing disability to light: The urgent need for more inclusive fuel poverty policy


Despite recognising the vulnerability of people with disabilities to fuel poverty, their diverse needs and perspectives are still inadequately addressed in current policies, necessitating a more inclusive and nuanced approach.

Contact Carolyn Snell

Fuel poverty is rocketing, but where are the children in UK energy policy?


There is a significant yet often overlooked impact of fuel poverty on children in the UK, and an urgent need for inclusive energy policies that directly address and mitigate the adverse effects on this vulnerable group’s physical, mental health, and educational outcomes.

Contact Irene Gonzáles Pijuan

Why has nothing changed since I was a kid living in a cold home?


A personal reflection on the persistent issue of fuel poverty and cold homes, emphasising the worsening situation due to factors like the war in Ukraine, rising energy prices, and the cost-of-living crisis, despite increased recognition of the health consequences and available solutions. 

Contact Jan Gilbertson

Policy analysis

Fuel Poverty at Parliamentary Evidence Week: where evidence-makers meet policy-makers 


The event provided a unique platform for academics to present UK research evidence on fuel poverty to policymakers in a dynamic and useful way, aiming to influence and inform policy decisions in light of the current energy cost crisis and approaching winter. 

Contact Lucie Middlemiss

Who applies for energy grants?

Blog, academic paper

In England, low-income households living in inefficient homes are more likely to apply for certain energy grants, with unexpected findings showing a higher propensity among Asian-origin households in certain types of neighbourhoods, suggesting both economic and community factors influence grant applications.

Contact Anne Owen

How can policy protect fuel poor households from rising energy prices?

Policy brief

Measures in place in autumn 2022 like energy bill rebate payments and the energy price cap freeze are insufficient to support households struggling with higher bills. Short-term solutions such as capping prices at or below April 2022 levels and offering additional support for the most vulnerable are recommended to minimise the crisis, alongside more ambitious policies like a social tariff and free energy allowance. In the long term, reducing bills through home insulation, heat pump technologies, and increasing renewable electricity generation is advised.

Contact Neil Simcock

A decade of fuel poverty in England – does the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) actually help those struggling to pay their bills?

blog, academic paper

The UK’s Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programme, aimed at combating fuel poverty, is not effectively targeting the areas most persistently affected by fuel poverty, suggesting a need for more targeted, tax-funded support methods.

Contact Paul Bridgen

One in four homes is “hard to decarbonise” – without help their inhabitants could get stuck in fuel poverty


Without targeted support, a significant portion of UK homes that are difficult to decarbonise will leave their occupants facing fuel poverty.

Contact Aimee Ambrose

How a net zero economy can reduce fuel and transport poverty


A properly implemented net zero carbon economy in the UK can reduce both fuel and transport poverty while addressing the broader challenge of climate change.

Contact Mari Martiskainen

Tackling transport poverty: Building sustainable and inclusive networks


Addressing transport poverty by creating sustainable, safe, and inclusive walking, cycling, and public transport networks can significantly enhance the quality of life and connectivity in society.

Contact – Caroline Mullen

Heat Resilience and Sustainable Cooling I

DESNZ Committee Inquiry Submission

Excessive heat significantly impacts human health and disproportionately affects certain communities, necessitating the implementation of sustainable cooling and adaptation strategies to mitigate these effects.

Contact – Neil Simcock

Heat Resilience and Sustainable Cooling II

DESNZ Committee Inquiry Submission

Urgent need for cohesive policy and practical strategies to address the growing issue of overheating in UK homes, emphasising the integration of fabric changes, active cooling technologies like heat pumps, and the importance of building design in mitigating this challenge.

Contact – Jonathan Webb

Heating Our Homes

DESNZ Committee Inquiry Submission

Comprehensive policy changes, including financial support, trusted advice, and regulatory adjustments, are necessary to enhance energy efficiency in UK homes and address fuel poverty.

Contact – Neil Simcock

Preparing for Winter

DESNZ Committee Inquiry Submission

Effective targeting of support, introducing social tariffs, controlling energy company profits, and reassessing standing charges are critical measures to prevent price shocks and alleviate fuel poverty, especially for low-income households.

Contact Aimee Ambrose


Tackling fuel poverty: Learning from Winter Research   

Policy brief, infographic

Evidence from research conducted over winter 22/23 tells us that there is a critical need for comprehensive energy market reform, improved insulation of housing stock, and immediate crisis response to support households in the UK facing severe fuel poverty. 

Contact – Lucie Middlemiss

The climate challenge: Making Net Zero socially inclusive 

Blog, academic paper

The transition to Net Zero in the UK, aimed at addressing the climate crisis, requires careful design to ensure it is inclusive and does not leave behind those who are economically or socially disadvantaged.

Contact – Carolyn Snell

How do we make sure everyone has a warm home?


Winter is fast approaching and with it the familiar feeling of dread for the arrival of heating bills. How do we ensure we stay warm and what support can be provided for those who are struggling? Additionally can we combine our needs for heating with our aims to decarbonise? 

Contact – Lucie Middlemiss

Our changing heating systems: Getting to the hearth of the matter


There’s an urgent need to transition from traditional, fossil-fuel-based home heating systems to more sustainable options, reflecting both environmental concerns and changes in societal norms and technologies.​

Contact Aimee Ambrose

Tackling damp and mould: Key takeaways from our expert Q&A


Effectively addressing damp and mould in homes requires a comprehensive approach, encompassing better understanding and management of moisture sources, improved housing conditions through retrofit and ventilation, and collaborative efforts between tenants, landlords, and local authorities. 

Contact Aimee Ambrose

The UK needs a national energy service


Establishing a National Energy Advice Service in the UK is crucial to provide comprehensive and accessible support for energy efficiency and low-carbon technology adoption, addressing both fuel poverty and environmental targets.

Contact Stefan Bouzarovski

How to keep your home warm during very cold weather (on a budget) – and avoid dangerous heating ‘hacks’


Improving energy efficiency and housing conditions in the private rented sector is crucial for the UK to meet its net zero and fuel poverty obligations, despite the sector facing numerous challenges that impede energy efficiency retrofitting, especially for vulnerable and marginalised people.

Contact Mari Martiskainen

How can we tackle fuel and transport poverty in the net zero transition?


Discussing the report “How a net zero economy can reduce fuel and transport poverty”, this podcast shows how the scale of change to reach net zero in transport and home heating is a major opportunity to remove structural causes of fuel and transport poverty.

Contact Mari Martiskainen

Capturing the health and wellbeing impacts of home energy interventions

Event report 

The role of interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration, ethical data practices, and effective communication is crucial in tackling the health and wellbeing impacts of home energy interventions and fuel poverty.

Contact Nicola Willand

Curbing the crisis: The impact of Energy Cafés


Energy Cafés, providing free, informal energy-saving advice in public spaces, play a crucial role in empowering vulnerable individuals, especially those digitally excluded or socially isolated, to understand their options and support available, thereby facilitating the first step towards seeking advice and taking energy-saving actions​

Contact – Neil Simcock

Joining up Housing and Healthcare: Tackling Fuel Poverty in the Outer Hebrides


The ‘Moving Together’ project in the Outer Hebrides successfully demonstrates how integrating housing improvements and energy efficiency into social prescribing can significantly enhance both the physical and mental health of communities facing fuel poverty.

Contact – Graeme Sherriff

Key Contacts

For more information on the overall projects, please contact:

Fuel Poverty Evidence Project – Professor Lucie Middlemiss (l.k.middlemiss@leeds.ac.uk)

Fuel Poverty Research Network – Dr Graeme Sherriff (graeme@fuelpovertyresearch.net)

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