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Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News

LOCHHEAD CALLS FOR ENERGY JUSTICE FOR MORAY HOUSEHOLDS

22/11/2016  

In a Scottish Parliament debate on fuel poverty Moray’s MSP called for energy justice for his constituents living in fuel poverty.

Mr Lochhead called it “galling” that many people in Moray living near an energy project have to watch energy being developed on their doorstep or being transported past their home whilst feeling no direct benefit.  He pointed at the local windfarms and the development taking place in connection with the transmission lines that SSE is putting in place towards the Blackhillock substation at Keith as examples and called for community benefit from renewable energy projects to be used to introduce schemes to tackle fuel poverty in rural areas.   

The percentage of Moray households that are off gas grid is 28%, significantly higher than the national average of 18%.  During the debate Mr Lochhead also highlighted the fact that Moray has a low-wage economy, meaning that families are being hammered by high fuel costs whilst salaries are lower than in other parts of the county.  Figures provided by the debt charity StepChange show that the number of people in Moray seeking debt advice who are in gas arrears has risen by 6% over the last year, further demonstrating that fuel poverty is a real issue affecting people and causing debt.

Speaking after the debate, the SNP MSP said:

“Far too many people living in Moray are unable to connect to the grid, meaning people rely on expensive alternatives such as deliveries of oil to heat their home or on bottles of gas to cook with.  When it comes to tackling fuel poverty, we need Ofgem and the UK Government to focus more on these off-grid households who don’t benefit from dual-fuel discounts or special tariffs. 

“It is absolutely galling that many of my constituents who are living in fuel poverty can see windfarms on their doorsteps or are seeing the huge development at Blackhillock at Keith but are seeing no benefit by way of cheaper fuel bills.

“We must find a way to make sure that communities benefit from having significant energy resources on their doorstep.  There’s always talk of community benefit from windfarm developments and I would like to see additional community benefit to tackle fuel poverty for rural households. 

“We need bold solutions to deliver energy justice for people living in places like Moray, where energy is produced, and I personally would like to see a publicly owned Scottish national energy company taking a stake in energy projects in Scotland and reinvesting the money in other energy projects to get people out of fuel poverty.”

Richard Lochhead’s speech in Parliament can be found here: https://shar.es/1IUTlz

Figures show that:

  • 28% of Moray households are off gas grid compared with 18% national average.  
  • 44% of private households in Moray have a National Home Energy Rating (NHER) of below 5 compared with national average of 25%.
  • 30% of households in Moray are in fuel poverty.
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