ADR Wales’ research using linked administrative data has provided valuable insights into the connection between fuel poverty and health.

In partnership with the Welsh Government, in 2017 ADR Wales discovered that those who accessed the government’s Warm Homes Nest scheme were less likely to seek help from the NHS and be admitted into hospital for cardiovascular and respiratory health issues. The ‘NEST’ measures appeared to have a protective effect, which was observed across all age groups.

This research suggested that fuel poverty schemes have a powerful impact beyond helping people heat their homes. Additionally, it led to an extension of funding for the scheme between 2018-21, as well as funding for the House Conditions Evidence Programme and the Housing Stock Analytical Resource. 

The most recent output from this research was published in October 2019, and was the first study to directly compare the health impacts of two different home energy efficiency schemes – one demand-led and one area-based. The study showed that there was no impact from either scheme on whether recipients experienced a health condition in the first place. However, for both schemes there was a reduction in GP events for respiratory health when compared with their respective control groups. The consistent pattern in reductions across schemes, whilst not always reaching statistical significance, suggests both schemes improve respiratory health. The findings are expected to inform future fuel poverty schemes in Wales.