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Energy efficiency, retrofitting, and sustainable construction supplementary planning document

Heating and health: The ambition of affordable warmth for all

What is it?

The term ‘affordable warmth’ relates to helping people on low incomes, in fuel-poor households, improve the energy efficiency of their home so that they can afford to keep their home warm.

The latest national statistics (2019) estimate for Bath and North East Somerset is that 8,314, or 10.2%, of households meet the government’s new Low-Income Low Energy efficiency definition of fuel poverty. This compares to a South West estimate of 10.6%, and an England estimate of 13.4%. The highest estimate of 17.5% was found in the West Midlands. The official criteria for this definition are:

  • disposable income after housing costs and energy needs to be below the poverty line (the income poverty line defined as an equivalised disposable income of less than 60% of the national median).
  • A Fuel Poverty Energy Efficiency Rating (FPEER) of D, E, F or G where direct energy cost interventions such as energy bill rebates are taken into account. This is then translated into a Band (from A to G)

Why is this important?

It is the combination of low incomes and low home energy efficiency ratings which means these households are less likely to be able to afford the cost of adequate home heating. As such, they are also at a great risk from the associated health and quality of life impacts of a cold home.

Existing physical health conditions can be made worse, there is a significant potential for deteriorating mental health and lower overall wellbeing, and there are other effects such as social isolation and lower educational attainment. Many affected households in B&NES include dependent children, and people with long-term disabilities or illnesses.

A staggering proportion of excess winter deaths are attributed to a cold home, and a significant proportion of them are a direct result of fuel poverty. Therefore, enabling everyone to achieve affordable warmth has the potential to help address excess winter deaths.

Bath and North East Somerset's housing stock

Analysis of the housing stock in the region, at an individual property level, shows that households across all house types, as well as all tenures, meet the government’s fuel poverty definition, with the exception of late 20th century homes (Housing stock condition model produced by the BRE in 2016).

Further guidance

The official definition of Fuel Poverty is set out in the government’s Sustainable Warmth strategy published in February 2021.

Fuel Poverty statistics in the UK on the GOV.UK website