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Title: Investigating spatial variations in fuel poverty levels in Northern Ireland using Geographic Information Systems
Author: Walker, Ryan Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 5990 379X
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2016
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Area-based approaches are increasingly deployed as a means of delivering fuel poverty programmes as they are thought to target fuel poor households more efficiently than traditional, 'untargeted' approaches. This thesis compares the efficacy of targeted and untargeted approaches in the context of government-funded, residential energy efficiency programmes in Northern Ireland, drawing on applied spatial analysis and geographic information systems (GIS) techniques. A high-resolution, multi-dimensional fuel poverty indicator is developed to identify areas of severe fuel poverty. This indicator is used to assess the targeting efficiency of past affordable warmth policies, and tested using empirical data (household surveys) in order to compare the efficiency of area-based targeting and a traditional untargeted approach. The results indicate that fuel poverty is not effectively tackled under traditional policy approaches. Many fuel poor households do not qualify for improvement measures, and the solutions delivered do not sufficiently address the scale of the problem. Empirical analysis of survey data indicates high rates of fuel poverty (90%) in areas predicted to have issues of severe fuel poverty. Targeting affordable warmth projects using a proactive, area-based approach may therefore yield improved outcomes. Further research is needed to determine the feasibility of delivering effective, whole-house solutions using an area-based model. Fuel poverty levels, and the type of solutions required, are also affected by the broader landscape of fuel provision systems, e.g. location on or off the gas network. The GIS indicator emerges as a valid decision support tool which could be more widely applied within affordable warmth policy-making, although some feasibility studies are recommended. Taken together, this thesis highlights the potential of revitalized, proactive and systematic affordable warmth policies as a means of developing effective and sustainable solutions to complex energy disparities in the residential sector.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available