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Letters / The unacceptable choice between heating your homes and putting food on the table

This the stark choice that face the islanders living in the Northern and Western Isles who are faced with living with high levels of domestic fuel poverty, hopefully this will soon change as targets committing the Scottish Government to reduce fuel poverty to below 5 per cent of Scottish households by 2040 have been approved by MSPs.

The Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019 was passed to cut the number of households affected by “the blight of fuel poverty” to 15 per cent by 2030 and 5 per cent by 2040. This will be commonly known as the ‘2040 target’.

The benefits of reducing fuel poverty go far beyond simply removing the need for people to choose between heating and eating. There are also indications that reducing domestic fuel poverty would have a positive effect on physical and mental health of the people living in rural communities.

Evolve has the technology that if implemented in line with the Scottish Governments strategy could and would bring forward considerably the ‘2040 target’.

We feel this Act must be given enough resource so that it can effectively tackle the drivers of fuel poverty and end the unacceptable situation of people having to live in cold homes in Scotland.

Remote rural and island communities have been identified to have the highest levels of fuel poverty, yet this won’t be addressed in the subsequent stages as set down by the Bill.

This is not the first time that the Scottish Government have attempted to try and reduce this problem. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 set a statutory duty on the Scottish Government to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland, as far as was reasonably practicable, by November 2016. This statutory duty expired, and the target was missed.

The Highlands and Islands are still suffering with exceptionally high levels of fuel poverty: Orkney Islands 63 per cent, Eilean Siar (Western Isles) 62 per cent, and Shetland Islands 53 per cent.

Evolve Trading & Investment are developing The Northern Lights Project which has been designed using bespoke technology to help reduce the level of domestic fuel poverty levels.

It has now been announced that over £1billion has been pledged by the Scottish Government to assist with the reduction of fuel poverty in accordance with this act.

We believe that the time is right to take the Northern Lights Project to the next level. It is purely by coincidence that our business plan is being released to the key decision makers in Scottish Government this week.

It is totally unacceptable for the people of the Northern and Western isles to have to wait another 21 years until the level of domestic fuel poverty is consistent with people living on the UK mainland.

George K Irvine
Evolve Trading & Investment Ltd