THE SDLP’s Sinéad McLaughlin has called for action to be taken to address fuel poverty in the transition to a green economy.
She was speaking after the SDLP held an online discussion on tackling the climate crisis while ensuring warm and sustainable homes.
Ms McLaughlin was joined by Newry, Mourne and Down District Councillor Pete Byrne and Belfast City Councillor Brian Heading.
The discussion focused on the need for a just transition and explored initiatives such as government incentives and financial support to lower income households to reduce their carbon footprint.
Fuel poverty is a particularly acute challenge in the North of Ireland because of its low-income economy and low employment rate.
Said the Foyle MLA: “To address the existential threat of the climate crisis, it is vital that we move to a low carbon economy while creating energy efficient homes.
“Fuel poverty must be at the top of the agenda when considering energy policy.
“We need to ensure that the cost of making the changes necessary to address the climate emergency is not pushed onto the most vulnerable and poorest in society.
“We need to be ambitious in our goals including by adopting an all-island energy strategy to make the most of the opportunities before us.
“Northern Ireland is falling behind our European neighbors and we must take action.
“I am calling for reviews of both the Affordable Warmth Scheme and the Northern Ireland Sustainable Energy Programme so that they focus more on energy efficiency and insulation in the homes of low income families in order to reduce energy use, cutting fuel bills while supporting action against climate change”.Tags: