Calor has invested £1 million in FREE project to tackle fuel poverty in rural England.

Calor worked with the Commission for Rural Communities (CRC) to match fuel poverty data with areas of England that are off the main gas network. The analysis showed that Forest Heath in Suffolk, Berwick-Upon-Tweed in Northumberland, and Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire, contain the highest percentage of fuel-poor households in off-mains gas England.

The Heat Map of England (right) shows these fuel-poor areas in detail. Other fuel-poor areas that made the top 10 in England were found in Shropshire, the West Midlands and North Yorkshire.

Stephen Rennie, managing director of Calor, said: “The issue of rural fuel poverty in the UK is often misunderstood by central government. Rural fuel poverty does not always neatly align with social poverty but is more closely associated with the quality of housing stock in the area or by single or elderly households living in larger, hard-to-heat homes. By working at a local level with the communities most at risk of fuel poverty rather than apply a one-size-fits-all approach we will provide much more tailored advice and assistance to those most in need."

The FREE initiative will help households to understand the full range of options open to them with regard to cost savings, new technologies, income maximisation and carbon reduction methods and will encourage local communities to work together to promote best practice.

Calor will be working with fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) and the Rural Community Action Network across England (ACRE) to fund regional energy officers (REOs) who will offer independent information and advice to off-gas grid households and communities to help improve energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint.

Similar initiatives will run in Scotland and Wales with NEA sister agencies Energy Action Scotland and National Energy Action Cymru.