A ‘HEAT map’ of Redditch produced from government figures shows large areas of the town where residents are struggling to heat their homes – just as winter arrives.
Thousands of households are affected from Batchley, Smallwood, Abbeydale and Mayfields to large swathes of the new town.
Fuel poverty levels rate as high as 30 per cent affect homes in an area like St Georges, and average about 20 per cent of households in districts like Church Hill South, Winyates, Matchborough, Woodrow and Greenlands.
In contrast other parts of the town, like Webheath, Callow Hill, Church Hill North and Winyates Green had fuel poverty figures of five to six per cent of households.
Those defined as fuel poor typically experience a combination of low income and poorly insulated homes.
The number of people struggling to keep their homes warm is likely to rise next year on the back of surging energy prices.
Government research has also shown that young people are more likely to live in fuel poverty than older people.
Nationally, 25 per cent of households in the youngest age bracket -16 to 24 – are deemed to be fuel poor, compared to 11 per cent for 60 to 74-year-olds.
It is also more likely to affect people who rent their homes over those who own them.
Some 27 per cent of privately renting households are considered fuel poor, compared to 18 per cent for social housing and eight per cent for people who own their own homes.
According to The Institute of Health Equity, there is a strong relationship between cold temperatures associated with poorly heated homes and life-limiting health conditions such as cardio-vascular and respiratory diseases.
Councillor Andy Fry, leader of the Labour group on Redditch Borough Council said: “It’s not surprising that large areas of Redditch are in fuel poverty.
“A lot of people have real concerns about whether they can heat their homes this winter.
“It’s concerning that to date 22 energy companies providers have gone out of business due to the soaring cost of fuel.”
Coun Craig Warwhurst, the borough’s housing portfolio holder said: “We spent £300,000 raising the energy efficiency of some of our homes earlier this year.
“All the new properties we build will be of the highest energy efficiency going with air pumps and we are looking into installing solar panels. The green agenda is certainly on our agenda.”
The heat map is available at: https://mapst.ac/foe/fuel-poverty#11.89/52.27836/-1.90678