(Dis)United Kingdom? Potential for a common approach to energy poverty assessment
Volume 70, December 2020, 101671
The UK has an extensive research base in the field of energy poverty, to the extent that other countries have based their policy approaches on the UK model. Despite this, there is no common method for measuring this condition across the UK. Additionally, sustaining meaningful reductions in UK energy poverty remains a challenge. While significant regional differences in UK energy poverty have been identified, it is not possible to draw direct comparisons between devolved countries. This paper explores the causes of these regional differences and contests that a common measurement across the UK countries would be insightful for resource allocation and policy design. The potential for applying a common multidimensional method of energy poverty assessment across the UK countries is investigated, with a strong focus on the value and viability of this process. Findings demonstrate that while there is a high level of data availability for input into a high spatial resolution index, this data is not compatible between countries and would have to undergo a process of data and metrics equivalisation before direct comparisons could be drawn. With increasing interest in the potential of multidimensional indexes to guide EU energy poverty policy, this paper provides useful insights into the practicalities of upscaling indexes between varied socio-political contexts.