New £1.25m research to help deliver ‘fair and just’ net zero transition

The study will explore the causes and links between fuel and transport poverty and draw up recommendations designed to limit their impacts in the low carbon transition

A new £1.25 million research project aimed at helping ensure the UK’s transition towards the net zero goal is “fair and just” for everyone in society has been launched.

The University of Sussex is leading the FAIR (Fuel and Transport Poverty in the UK’s Energy Transition) study that will explore the causes and links between fuel poverty and transport poverty and draw up recommendations designed to limit their impacts in the low carbon transition.

More than 3.5 million households currently live in fuel poverty in the UK and transport poverty figures are estimated at 2.5 million.

The project, which aims to ensure “no one is left behind”, will cover both rural and urban households to identify and examine the circumstances that leave some vulnerable to fuel and transport poverty.

It will model future scenarios to estimate the impact of low carbon energy and transport policies on key indicators such as unemployment, sectoral employment, household incomes and wage rates.

Dr Mari Martiskainen, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sussex’s Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) and Sussex Energy Group (SEG) said: “This study is pressingly needed to ensure that as the UK undergoes a significant and very necessary decarbonisation effort of net zero by 2050, innovations such as vehicle electrification and ‘smart’ technologies do not create new injustices.

“We will be looking at who is currently vulnerable to fuel and transport poverty in the UK and to what extent and why but also how will that change over time.

“Fuel and transport poverty have until now typically been treated as distinct problems in the UK with their own causes and consequences but we argue that they are in fact deeply interlinked and potentially mutually reinforcing.”

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