Energy trust plans gain momentum as community leaders seek to address fuel poverty

Proposals for an “energy trust” to address fuel poverty in Shetland are gaining momentum after community leaders agreed to seek information on its establishment.

The Association of Shetland Community Councils discussed the idea on Tuesday night – where the need for action was widely recognised.

Gulberwick, Quarff and Cunningsburgh Community Council’s Colin Clark raised the idea, having heard it discussed by the SNP’s election candidate Tom Wills.

“I know he came second,” Mr Clark said.

“But I think a good idea should still be investigated.”

Mr Clark also said Bryan Leask,  vice chairman of the Shetland Fuel Poverty Action Group, had been “banging the drum” on the issue.

“I would just like to know what’s happening,” he said.

“There’s been some really good suggests for an energy trust to be set up and I think that would be the key to get things going.”

Mr Clark suggested the ASCC should seek to find out more information and look into how such a trust could be developed.

“A lot of people are speaking about it, but electricity prices are still hiking up,” he said.

“One in three are in fuel poverty, one in five are in extreme fuel poverty and I think that’s rising because the cost of living is going up.

“So I think something needs to be done and I think we should be either supporting Bryan [Leask] or making inquiries to the SIC to find out what’s actually happen.”

Lerwick Community Council’s Gary Robinson suggested Shetland Charitable Trust might be the the best organisation to tackle fuel poverty, rather than establishing another trust.

He noted one of the SCT’s stated aims was already to tackle poverty.

The ASCC agreed to invite to its next meeting in September Mr Leask, an SCT representative and someone to speak about setting up an energy trust. 

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Wills said he was pleased Mr Clark had taken the initiative, with his backing.

“Nobody should have to struggle to heat their home, and certainly not in one of the most energy-rich communities in the world. 

“It’s encouraging to see more folk taking this issue on.”


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