Health experts have met on Wednesday to discuss possible solutions to cold homes, which have led to thousands of deaths in England and Wales over the past two years.
Energy Bill Revolution, Friends of the Earth and the UK Health Forum led the event, attended by academics, politicians, policymakers, health bodies and NGOs, who discussed ways to solve fuel poverty in the UK.
According to the organisers, fuel poverty affects 3m households in England and is particularly problematic for youngsters and elderly.
They said that in 2011 and 2012, several of the 24,000 deaths that occurred in winter could be linked to cold homes.
The cost to treat illness caused by cold homes is about £1.36 billion a year for the NHS. Organisers say that cutting energy waste and improving energy efficiency would play crucial roles in solving the problem, while insulation measures would help families save £500 on their energy bills on average.
They also call on the government to spend the £63 billion it will receive from the carbon tax over the next 15 years to fund a home insulation programme for those affected by fuel poverty.
Sophie Neuburg, Friends of the Earth fuel poverty campaigner, said, “It’s a national disgrace that so many people die in the UK each year because they live in cold, damp and heat-leaking homes.
“There is mounting evidence on the health impacts of cold homes and the crucial role that cutting energy waste can play in tackling this issue.
“National and local policymakers must do more to champion energy efficiency if we are to tackle the UK’s cold home crisis.”