The Leader of Glasgow City Council has today launched a £1m affordable warmth initiative marking the start of efforts to eradicate fuel poverty in the city.
It will help give every Glaswegian over 80 and who receives Pension Credit an extra hand as the city moves into the winter months.
The initiative was one of a number of new measures announced today aimed at helping to make Glasgow one of Europe’s most sustainable and green cities through the Sustainable Glasgow partnership.
Speaking at the BaseGlasgow sustainability conference, Councillor Matheson, who is also chair of Sustainable Glasgow, said: “This winter we will give a £100 affordable warmth dividend to every Glaswegian over 80 on Pension Credit. That’s 11,000 of our most vulnerable citizens.
“It’s money to help these people so they don’t have to worry about putting on heating and ensure they can keep healthy and warm during the winter.
“All partners in the Sustainable Glasgow partnership are working for all the people living in our city. This new initiative is a measure of our commitment – a green future, social justice and leaving no one behind.
“The Warm Glasgow project will tap into savings and income generated by future sustainability projects to ensure that affordable warmth becomes a reality for all our citizens.”
Councillor Matheson also told delegates that the Sustainable Glasgow partnership was a key commitment of his administration.
He said he would be asking the Sustainable Glasgow partners to join the council in tackling the challenge of affordable warmth through the creation of a new taskforce on the issue.
This announcement comes just months after Glasgow was named as the UK’s first winner of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge. IBM experts were asked to help Glasgow with the issues around fuel poverty or affordable warmth and report back to the council on a way forward.
Councillor Matheson said: “I’m going to use the IBM report as a basis for a new affordable warmth strategy. I’m not prepared to see another winter of hardship for our people. Affordable warmth is my commitment. Sustainable Glasgow is the means by which we will deliver it.”
He also announced two major projects with a Sustainable Glasgow partner – SSE.
The council and SSE have now reached the final agreements on a wind farm in the south of Glasgow, and the second is the launch of a £2 million pilot to renew 1000 lighting columns in the city which will use “green” technology.
He added: “I’m also delighted to announce that my council will allocate our revenue share from the wind farm to an affordable warmth commitment. This money will be used to provide direct support to some of our most vulnerable communities.
“On lighting we have been exploring a public private partnership which will look at the renewal of the city’s lighting network. There are currently 69,000 lighting columns in Glasgow – almost half of which are over 30 years old. The pilot to renew 1000 lighting columns is a first step looking at using new technology to save energy and carbon.
“That is the Sustainable Glasgow dividend – green energy, strong partnerships and benefits for all Glaswegians.”
The Sustainable Glasgow partnership includes Glasgow City Council, the University of Strathclyde, Clyde Gateway, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, Glasgow Housing Association, Scottish Enterprise, Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board, IBM, BT, Honeywell, Siemens, ScottishPower, SSE, Scottish Water and the City of Glasgow College.
Through this ambitious city strategy, Glasgow has been positioned as a new centre of excellence in renewable-energy research and industry. Hundreds of new green jobs have been created in Glasgow by industry leaders including SSE, Mitsubishi and Iberdrola, the Spanish firm which owns ScottishPower.
Sustainable Glasgow partners are also supporting many hundreds of groups across the city which are running green community-led initiatives. These projects will be vital in helping the Sustainable Glasgow partnership hit its target to reduce Glasgow’s carbon emissions by 30% within 10 years.
Councillor Matheson told delegates that the city was well on track to meet this target. He said: “Our most recent results on this are just in and they show there has been almost a 9% reduction in Glasgow’s CO2 emissions. The trends show that Glasgow should meet our 2020 reduction targets.
“But I would challenge all the people who live and work in Glasgow to make a difference in their own lives so our city can beat this target.
“We’re on the cusp of a new and green industrial age in Glasgow. By everyone working together in partnership I am determined to let Sustainable Glasgow flourish.”
Mark Wakefield, IBM Corporate Citizenship Manager, said: “Glasgow’s leadership in the area of fuel poverty is to be commended – whilst it is demonstrably a priority issue for Glasgow, this is a universal and rapidly escalating challenge for us all.
“Glasgow’s response to our report demonstrates their aspiration to become the most energy literate city in the UK. We welcome Glasgow’s clear commitment to inclusion and the establishment of the task force to implement its recommendations. We hope that the 60 insights from our report can help others address fuel poverty in their cities.”