• Tackling fuel poverty in the West Country
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FRESH Vulnerability Mapping

Foundation Data for Robust Energy Strategies for Housing, or FRESH to give it a snappier title, is a partnership project run by Warm Wales and Warm West, in conjunction with Cardiff University and Wales & West Utilities. FRESH vulnerability mapping is based on research undertaken at the Welsh School of Architecture and funded under the EU Solcer project.

FRESH vulnerability mapping takes complex big data on poor health, and poor income and matches that with street-level maps of poor housing. It overcomes the limitations of the larger area grouping of LSOA data by applying ‘finer grain’ OA data analysis. This creates a much more detailed and usable neighbourhood profile, enabling specific streets to be identified.

FRESH identifies ‘street clusters’ of fuel poor, energy inefficient households, based on mass EPC analysis. This results in a suite of powerful maps, showing levels of vulnerability which can then be cross-matched with local agencies, including DWP housing benefits data and GP Health Cluster data, to help prioritise existing resources. As well as helping to direct existing resources more effectively, it is typically being used to provide a sound data base to apply for external grant funding.

FRESH vulnerability maps are being used to guide deployment of a regional Community Energy Champion programme across Wales and the South West of England. This works in partnership with local third sector agents, avoiding duplication and harnessing ‘local knowledge’ to identify vulnerable households with house-to-house surveys.

The new Health and Vulnerable Household profiling provided by the FRESH vulnerability maps, overcomes the limitations of LSOA-scale data by providing a much more accurate neighbourhood focus, showing exactly where extra help is required. It can also overcome the ‘aggregation limitations’ of LSOA data which can masks streets with vulnerable households adjacent to more affluent households.

As part of the FRESH system, Warm Wales is able to profile the work in each local authority area against the criteria in the NICE Guidelines in reducing Excess Winter Deaths. This then forms the basis of a working toolkit for each local authority fuel poverty reduction hub, improving knowledge sharing and resource deployment across health, housing and social service agencies.

FRESH vulnerability mapping is currently being used in our Warm & Safe Homes project.
Read about Warm & Safe Homes


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