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Title: Developing a social practice theory picture of fuel poverty in England
Author: Marchand, Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 5370 0334
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2015
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Fuel Poverty, defined most simply as “the inability to afford adequate warmth” (Lewis 1982, p.1) emerged as an issue in England following the oil crisis in 1973-1974 but remained a topic of interest only to special interest groups and failed to impact upon official government policy. Following the passing of the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act (2000), the topic of fuel poverty has received increasing interest within the academic community both within England and increasingly further afield. Fuel poverty has been shown to be closely related to increased Excess Winter Deaths, morbidity and mental health issues, and is predicted to affect 2.34 million homes in England in 2015; demonstrating that despite 15 years of schemes designed to tackle fuel poverty in England, the social issue is far from being eradicated. This research develops a new approach to understanding, modelling and targeting fuel poverty in England in order to contribute to efforts to eradicate the issue. Through examination of the extant literature a novel three stage methodology was developed to respond to this aim. An analysis of fuel poverty and Index of Multiple Deprivation statistics demonstrated that current measurement approaches capture a distinct social issue with significant localised variation, contributing to the inefficiency of current intervention targeting approaches. This enabled the development of a novel Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) classification matrix that facilitates improved intervention targeting (study 1). This was utilised to identify areas to complete focus groups examining the role of energy in homes around England. The focus groups adopted a Social Practice Theory (SPT) perspective and enabled the identification of SPT factors of fuel poverty, demonstrating that fuel poverty was a much broader concept than that captured in current government policy (study 2a). Finally these factors were weighted through an application of the Analytic Hierarchy Process to develop a novel model of the SPT factors of fuel poverty (study2b). The resultant model shows that when fuel poverty is considered from a SPT perspective food, energy, domestic practices and social engagement determine the likelihood of living in fuel poverty. The final model provides practitioners with new sites of intervention and tools for change to encourage the alteration of practices which have a detrimental effect on fuel poverty and the emergence of new practices to reduce the existence of fuel poverty in England.
Supervisor: Koh, S. C. Lenny ; Genovese, Andrea ; Brennan, Alan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available