Low incomes behind high level of fuel poverty in Unst

Half the population of Unst suffers from fuel poverty compared to a third for the rest of Shetland, according to a survey carried out by Shellstep student Bobby Macaulay for the Unst Powerdown project.

Low income was found to be the main contributory factor, with an average household income of just £12,500 in the island compared to £22,750 across Shetland as a whole.

Powerdown is a nationwide project, funded by almost £1.5m from the Climate Challenge Fund, to reduce people’s reliance on fossil fuels while educating people about how to make changes to cut down on energy use and save money.

The survey will be used as a baseline for future Powerdown projects. With 71 per cent of respondents supporting a community education scheme, 86 per cent behind renewable energies for public buildings and a massive 89 per cent behind an island recycling centre, it clearly show the need for Powerdown to provide greater education and help for those wishing to install renewable energy systems.

All the results, together with an Energy Saving Trust home energy check form have been sent to Shetland’s Energy Saving Trust’s outreach officer Steven Coutts, who will assess which households would benefit from more information and who is eligible for an energy assistance package.

A prize draw for an A-rated kitchen appliance was held, with local energy saver Leslie Smith adjudicating. The lucky recipient of a new washing machine, supplied from George Robertson Electricals in Lerwick, was James Mouatt of Havly, Baltasound.


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