Author: Age NI / NI Fuel Poverty Coalition
Published on 27 November 2013 04:30 PM
Ongoing energy price increases and the highest level of fuel poverty in Western Europe have prompted the NI Fuel Poverty Coalition to call together its membership to develop a reinvigorated ‘plan of attack’.
On Wednesday 27 November the Fuel Poverty Coalition’s 160-strong membership gathered for ‘Running on Empty’, a conference that heard from experts with over 20 years’ experience, as well as real families who are living in fuel poverty. The aim of the event was to bolster its campaign to end fuel poverty in Northern Ireland.
Chair of the NI Fuel Poverty Coalition, Pat Austin, said: “Energy prices are rarely far from the news across the water in Great Britain, and yet Northern Ireland is in a deepening energy and fuel poverty crisis. With 42 per cent of households in Northern Ireland spending more than a tenth of their income on energy, compared to 15 per cent in England, we have the highest level of fuel poverty in Western Europe.
"Our aim with the ‘Running on Empty’ conference is to shine a spotlight on what is happening in Northern Ireland; to channel the knowledge and expertise of health, academic, political and economic contributors; and to agree a plan of action with which to challenge and support the Northern Ireland Executive’s and Assembly’s efforts to tackle fuel poverty," she added.
Topics on the ‘Running on Empty’ agenda included:
- Fuel poverty over the last 10 years, what is happening now and what needs to happen next?
- Uniting public, private, voluntary, community and statutory sectors in ending fuel poverty.
- The role of local government – tackling fuel poverty with area-based approaches.
- Understanding the impact of fuel poverty on families and individuals in NI.
- The impact of rising energy prices and Northern Ireland’s over-reliance on oil for home heating.
"The Fuel Poverty Coalition has called on the NI Executive and Assembly to develop a detailed and costed action plan setting out how and when fuel poverty will be eradicated in Northern Ireland and to provide continued support to households in severe fuel poverty to stay warm until fuel poverty is eradicated."