As you may have noticed from previous articles I have a special interest in energy and fuel poverty issues. In this respect at a recent full Council meeting I asked a formal question of the Executive Member for the Environment about Community Energy plans and what proposals he has for developing these in Leeds. The Council have identified the potential for a District Heating network which could serve the Aire Valley and the city centre. District Heating uses energy generated from commercial sources and makes it available to households in groups. In this respect the Council has started discussions with the energy industry.

I have urged the Council to take immediate steps to helpLeedsresidents reduce their energy bills. I have suggested they organise collective purchasing and switching schemes. The aim of such schemes is to allow large groups of consumers to join together to negotiate cheaper energy bills.  In some cases the energy companies bid for business in a “reverse auction” approach, with the lowest bid being successful.

I recently led an inquiry through the Council committee I chair into the causes of fuel poverty.  This concluded that there are strong links between ill health and fuel poverty, which undoubtedly has a significant impact on the most vulnerable in our society.

Cornwall Council has already launched a collective purchasing scheme.  I would like to think thatLeeds, as one of the Core Cities, could be innovative in seeking solutions to such things.