SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

Fuel and Transport Poverty in the UK’s Energy Transition

A new three-year research project led by Dr Mari Martiskainen, will explore ways to ensure that the UK’s shift to a low-carbon society does not leave anyone behind.

More than 3.5 million households live in fuel poverty in the UK while best estimate figures for transport poverty put the figure at around 2.5 million households.

Fuel poverty can have a significantly detrimental impact on the health of individuals who lack the resources to adequately heat their home while transport poverty can leave households at risk of being cut off from work and healthcare.

The FAIR project (Fuel and Transport Poverty in the UK’s Energy Transition) will explore the causes and links between fuel poverty and transport poverty in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Methodology

It will do this by:

         I. Interviewing both rural and urban households to identify and examine the circumstances that leave some vulnerable to fuel and transport poverty.

       II. Applying primary and secondary data to map the variation of fuel and transport poverty patterns across the UK.

     III. Modelling future scenarios to estimate the impact of low-carbon energy and transport policies on key indicators such as unemployment, sectoral employment, and household incomes and wage rates.

    IV. Exploring policy proposals to enable just and fair transitions particularly for vulnerable groups.

Impact and outreach

This study is pressingly needed to ensure that as the UK undergoes a significant and very necessary decarbonisation effort of Net Zero by 2050, innovations such as vehicle electrification and ‘smart’ technologies do not create new injustices.

Little is known about how fuel and transport poverty, and their intersections, may be influenced by low carbon energy transitions and efforts to alter patterns of energy demand.

This study will move existing fuel and transport poverty debates beyond the individual, to a nexus of system-wide implications of energy and transport use that include supply to demand. The researchers will run policy workshops and develop policy models, to provide recommendations on how the UK’s Net Zero objectives can be achieved so that they do not only mitigate emissions, but also address poverty, inequality and exclusion.

The recommendations will be designed to limit the impact of fuel poverty and transport poverty in the transition to a more sustainable future.

Project team

The project will be a part of the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS).

The study’s principal investigator is Dr Mari Martiskainen, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex’s Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) and Sussex Energy Group (SEG).

Also involved in the project are:

  • Dr Kirsten Jenkins, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Stefan Bouzarovski, University of Manchester
  • Professor Benjamin Sovacool, University of Sussex
  • Dr Neil Simcock, Liverpool John Moores University
  • Dr Paul McKenzie, University of Ulster
  • Dr Debbie Hopkins, University of Oxford
  • Dr Giulio Mattioli, TU Dortmund University, Germany [Consultancy]

And three external partners:

  • Cambridge Econometrics
  • Energy Saving Trust
  • Green Alliance

 

Find out more

Visit the CREDS website (https://www.creds.ac.uk/fair/)  for more information on the project.