A grant of £75,000 from the ScottishPower Energy People Trust is helping to ensure warmer more comfortable homes for 90 households in Scotland’s remote Western Isles.
Forty miles from the Scottish mainland, the Western Isles – or Outer Hebrides – are a chain of around 60 islands off the northwest coast of Scotland, the six main ones being Lewis, Harris, North and South Uist, Benbecula and Barra.
People living in the Western Isles have among the highest heating costs in the UK, due to the cold climate and older housing stock, around a third of which was built before the Second World War.
The Scottish Housing Condition Survey 2002 identified the Western Isles as having the highest fuel poverty levels in Scotland – with 34% of households spending more than 10% of their income on fuel.
The local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, believes that number has grown considerably during the last seven years, estimating that up to 60% of Western Isles households could be living in fuel poverty in 2009, with 20% of those facing “extreme fuel poverty”.
Now, a project run by The Energy Advisory Service (TEAS) based in Stornoway, on the isle of Lewis, has set out to change this by improving insulation in properties that are not covered by current grant schemes. The project will help disabled, elderly and vulnerable people in particular, who have old heating systems and limited incomes.
The Warm Isles project aims to help 90 households over three years by installing full or top-up loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, water tank insulation and energy efficient light bulbs. It will also offer one-to-one energy efficiency advice to every household visited – a service that is not otherwise available in the Western Isles.
The most needy households – which will be targeted by the Warm Isles project – were identified through a Fuel Poverty Assessment and Monitoring project, which mapped the island areas with the highest prevalence of fuel poverty.
The Warm Isles project has been particularly well received in the Western Isles due to uncertainty over the ongoing funding of other energy efficiency initiatives and services on the islands.
Expected Number of Individuals : 200
Expected Number of Households : 90
Trustees Meetings : 05/10/2006
Funding Amount Approved : 75000