Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Nottingham Declaration On Climate Change

Hello Friends,

Hope youre well and enjoying the late summer sunshine. I was reading my notes from the NEA Conference in Nottingham and I wanted to share some thoughts with you about The Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change.

I have done some research via the website that promotes this fantastic idealogy and I was quite shocked to notice that there are a lot of Local Authorities who dont appear to have signed up to this voluntarily yet ? Perhaps they havent had chance to update the website - otherwise I would be sorely tempted to name and shame those Councils that havent !!

Its imperative that every person in a position of influence - community groups, faith leaders, Councillors, MP's, Doctors, Teachers - everyone - should be aware of the issues that face our country in relation to excess Winter deaths and fuel poverty.

I had a lovely letter from my energy supplier today to tell me that my gas and electricity will be going up (again) - did you know that £9.50 per household per year from every customer contributes towards the Energy Efficiency Commitment ? It has risen dramatically from just over a £1 two years ago ! You can clearly see why I am regularly mentioning the utility funding that needs to be released and why there are concerns about the insulation industry in particular facing meltdown. The money is there - its ring fenced - "its just a matter of when" apparently ?

Millions of pounds' worth of investment that is desperately needed to maintain the good work that hundreds of people are doing to help stamp out fuel poverty. Based on Government estimates, for every 1% increase in gas or electricity prices, another 40,000 households are put at risk of fuel poverty. In the North West of England we have the awful position of the second highest excess Winter mortality rate in England. Now you can see why Im so passionately involved - we can literally save people and change lives for the better but more funding is needed NOW !

Conversely DTI estimates that for every 1% rise in income levels, 40,000 households are lifted out of fuel poverty. Up to 1.8 million eligible pensioners dont claim council tax benefit. Some 40% of eligible pensioners dont claim Pension Credit. Every year benefits worth more than £3 billion go unclaimed by our pensioners.

Eaga Partnership and the NEA have undertaken research and their studies have both demonstrated that a successful Benefit Entitlement Check can increase household income by an average of £23 - £29 per week.

One of my Local Authority customers is about to launch a very ambitious programme targetting support and measures in the private sector at older people, taking into account factors like income maximisation and health awareness. Its a brave and bold programme and I truly hope it succeeds as it will be momentous and ground breaking and could be the yardstick by which other schemes are measured in future. Its not rocket science I know - but believe me trying to persuade people to take up the offer of free home insulation or heating can be very difficult.

So I hope The Nottingham Declaration is fully supported and endorsed by every single Council in the UK - the inclusion of a review stage is critical to move everyone in the right direction. Creating a positive competitive environment will hopefully have untold benefits for customers and may the best Council win ! (hope its Manchester City Council - Brian get a wriggle on - if you and Alison and the Team can't sort 'em out no one can !!!)

Take care - if youve any questions by all means drop me a line soon

From Your Friend The Energy Angel

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