Tackling fuel poverty has become an increasingly important issue on many European countries' political agendas. Consequently, national governments, local authorities and NGOs have established policies and programmes to reduce the fuel poverty vulnerability of households. However, evaluations of such policies and programmes show that they barely reach those who are most in need. This raises the question of how fuel poor homes can be more effectively identified and targeted to ensure that limited local and national budgets are used to benefit those who most need help.
Area-based approaches, which pinpoint spatial units highly affected by fuel poverty due to their specific characteristics, offer an opportunity for creating more tailored policies and programmes.
This analysis by Steven März (Wuppertal Institute) offers insights into the spatial pattern of fuel poverty within a city and thus provides an opportunity to channel efforts towards households in those neighbourhoods most in need. It also demonstrates that a trade-off between ecological and social targets should be considered in the development of future policies for tackling fuel poverty.
The paper "Assessing the fuel poverty vulnerability of urban neighbourhoods using a spatial multi-criteria decision analysis for the German city of Oberhausen" was published in "Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews" and is available for purchase via ScienceDirect.