East Lothian Courier – 16 February 2023


There’s a correlation between being off the gas grid and fuel poverty. The situation’s worse in Scotland than the rest of the UK. Here, 19% are off grid, nearly 1 in 5 homes, and over half a million households. It’s 15% in the UK, the same in England and Wales.

That’s despite Scotland having a colder climate. Even more absurd’ s the fact that much of the UKs gas resource is off Scotland’s coast and a great deal of it comes ashore at St Fergus in Aberdeenshire.

Despite that Shetland and Orkney are entirely devoid of it, as are 42% of homes in Aberdeenshire. Other rural parts whether Argyll and Bute or Dumfries and Galloway are similarly denied. But it also impacts on urban areas where Glasgow and Dundee have nearly 20% of homes off the gas grid. That’s largely due to multi story flats where gas can’t be provided.

East Lothian isn’t amongst the worst affected parts. But 13% of households are off grid, equating to 6000 homes, largely in the villages. Of course, it doesn’t mean that every home there is in fuel poverty. But it does mean that residents there have the increased challenges facing all those off the gas grid wherever situated.

That’s because when you’ve off the gas grid you’re dependent on other fuel systems. They are often more expensive to run such as electric heating systems that are cause so much fuel poverty in urban deprived flats or on unregulated fuels that rural parts depend on like heating oil, LNG or biomass. The cost of latter fuels has risen even more than gas and electricity and the hardship’s often compounded by requiring to purchase substantial minimum amounts.

The solutions to regulate those fuels that are currently causing so much hardship in the county and across the country. Moreover, those areas and households dependent on old and expensive electric heating systems must be prioritised for improved insulation, fitting of efficient heating systems and financial support.

It’s perverse that Scots go without gas and face fuel poverty, when it’s off our coast and Corporates make fortunes.