Hatfield households struggling as shocking fuel poverty figures revealed
- Credit: PA
Shocking figures have revealed more than 25 per cent of households in areas of Hatfield were living in fuel poverty in 2020, among the worst hit areas in Hertfordshire.
Figures from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy revealed the south of Hatfield is the worst hit, with a staggering 27.9 per cent of households in a Welham Green and Hatfield South neighbourhood in poverty.
Data revealed that this was among the worst effected in all of Hertfordshire, with only a neighbourhood in Letchworth South West having a higher rate at 30.8 per cent.
The figure stood 26.1 per cent for a Hatfield South West neighbourhood, while another in Hatfield Villages saw 24.2 per cent of households in fuel poverty.
Figures for Welwyn Garden City were much lower, although a Peartree neighbourhood had a rate of 23.7 per cent.
From 2015 to 2020, fuel poverty in the borough increased from 7.4 per cent to 13.1 per cent – just 0.1 per cent below the national average – with this only expected to get worse due to the cost of living crisis.
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council is supporting struggling residents, with a spokeswoman saying: “The unprecedented increase in energy bills is a huge concern for the council and we are taking action to do everything we can to help alleviate the pressure this is putting on households across Welwyn Hatfield.
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“This is not only for the short term but also longer term as we support residents to become more energy efficient and cut their energy bills.
“We are currently working hard to implement the government funding allocated in the wake of rising energy costs, including a £150 rebate for all households in council tax bands A-D, which applies to about 35,000 of our borough’s households.
“We are also working with Herts County Council to ensure vulnerable households are signposted to the help available through their Household Support Fund in Hertfordshire.
“WHBC has been allocated £1.1million through Sustainable Warmth ‘LAD 3’ funding to help with upgrading around 119 energy inefficient homes which are either privately owned or rented.
“The project is led by the managing agent Warm Works. Householders must have an income of less than £30,000 and be in a home with an EPC rating of D to G to be eligible.
“Our Private Sector Housing team also has grants available to assist vulnerable people in Welwyn Hatfield with central heating repairs.
“We are reviewing our council housing and putting together programmes of work which will include carrying out a range of improvements to make our properties with the lowest energy efficiency rating more thermally efficient.
“In the wider context, we are continuing to promote our long-term Welwyn Hatfield Warmer Homes Scheme, as well as giving information on a national scheme - which helps vulnerable residents increase the energy efficiency of their homes.
“This includes new energy efficient boiler systems, cavity wall and loft insulation and first-time central heating systems.
“Our Housing Development Team works with partners to include innovative build solutions and green technologies on our new-build social housing development projects in order to help reduce energy and fuel bills.
“These include the installation of PV panels to be used in conjunction with heat pumps, alternative solutions for hot water and heating provision, installation of water-saving appliances and communal heating systems.
“Plus, we are alerting residents – as featured in the spring edition of our borough magazine ‘ONE’ – to the Welwyn Hatfield Energy Advice Tool, which helps everyone make simple changes in their home to lower their carbon footprint and energy bills.
“Fuel poverty is a top priority for us and we urge any resident who needs support and has not accessed this help to contact us to see how we can best assist them at this difficult time.”
Further south in Brookmans Park, Little Heath, Cuffley and Northaw, no neighbourhood exceeds 10.8 per cent of households in fuel poverty.
The highest figure in Welwyn village was 13.8 per cent, while it stood at 11 per cent in Knebworth.