Lochalsh and Skye

The Oban Times - - Districts -

AN EN­ERGY ad­vice ser­vice has wel­comed a re­port high­light­ing the need for ru­ral Scot­land to be made a pri­or­ity when tack­ling fuel poverty.

Ac­cord­ing to Lochalsh and Skye Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (LSHA)’s en­ergy ad­vice ser­vice, fuel bills in ar­eas such as Skye are reg­u­larly £1,000 a year higher than Scot­tish av­er­ages. It was there­fore en­cour­aged that the re­port by the Scot­tish Ru­ral Fuel Poverty Task Force stressed ge­og­ra­phy should not be a bar­rier to house­holds achiev­ing af­ford­able warmth and that re­me­dial ac­tions and sup­port should be pri­ori­tised to the most vul­ner­a­ble house­holds.

Don­nie MacKay, who was part of the task force and is en­ergy ad­vice man­ager for LSHA, said for too long the fo­cus has been on the ‘easy wins’, such as cav­ity wall and loft in­su­la­tion and that it is time to fo­cus ef­forts on more chal­leng­ing prop­er­ties, oth­er­wise there will never be an end to fuel poverty.

He added: ‘Re­mote ru­ral Scot­land has twice the per­cent­age of house­holds in fuel poverty as ur­ban Scot­land and that should shame us all.

‘In the year that fuel poverty is meant to have been erad­i­cated, it should be a sharp re­minder to lo­cal and na­tional gov­ern­ment that, in terms of ac­cess­ing the ba­sic hu­man right of af­ford­able warmth, we have a di­vided coun­try with di­vided op­por­tu­ni­ties.’

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