Representatives from Shetland Islands Council are meeting MSP Tavish Scott and Scottish infrastructure and investment minister Alex Neil in Edinburgh tomorrow to discuss the issue of fuel poverty in the isles.
Councillors Cecil Smith and Allison Duncan will be joined by Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament Emily Shaw, SIC housing manager Anita Jamieson and SIC environmental health manager Maggie Dunne.
The meeting was arranged by Mr Scott to raise awareness of Shetland’s unique circumstances and to ensure that any funding opportunities provided by the Scottish government were flexible enough to meet local conditions.
More than a third of all households in Shetland (35 per cent) were living in fuel poverty for the period 2007/09, according to Scottish figures. Thirteen per cent of households in Shetland were living in extreme fuel poverty. The continuing rise in fuel prices since this time means that these figures are now likely to be higher.
Mr Smith said he was pleased to have this opportunity to express his concerns regarding this issue. “Levels of fuel poverty in Shetland are on the increase and this will have a negative impact on our communities.
“We believe our climate, the cost of fuel and our traditional housing make our circumstances unique and national schemes tend to lack flexibility and are often not appropriate to Shetland.
“We want to ensure that any money we receive will have the greatest impact on achieving energy efficiency, reducing energy bills for households and reducing fuel poverty.”
Anyone experiencing difficulties paying their energy bills is encouraged to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau on 694696 or Hjaltland Housing Association’s “one-stop shop” on 741368, which is able to assist people with energy efficiency advice and provide information on funding available.