Falkirk Council's 'broken promise' over gas installation pulls the plug on campaign group

A campaign started two years ago by residents to fight back against high energy prices has now come to an end because it has “no other routes to take”.

By James Trimble
Friday, 9th July 2021, 2:31 pm
Updated Friday, 9th July 2021, 2:32 pm

The Falkirk’s Forgotten Villages – Ending Fuel Poverty campaign began in November 2019 when residents complained the THERMAflow electric heating system Falkirk Council recommended be installed in their homes was combining with the Scottish Power fuel tariff to create extraordinarily expensive bills – some as high as £150 per week.

Their online petition demanded an investigation into the rising costs and resulted in a face to face meeting with Scottish Power CEO Andrew Ward.

The group then scored a major victory – or so they thought – in June 2020 when Falkirk Council agreed to begin installing gas central heating in over 700 properties in the area.

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Falkirk's Forgotten Villages - Ending Fuel Poverty campaigners took their fight to Scottish Power's HQ in Glasgow

However, the high cost of installing gas central heating in Braes villages forced Falkirk Council to “undertake further assessment” on the promise it made back in 2020.

For organisers of Falkirk’s Forgotten Villages – Ending Fuel Poverty this was the last straw.

In a statement on the Falkirk’s Forgotten Villages’ Facebook page, Claire Mackie, co-founder of the campaign with Fiona Gordon, said: “Following the recent update from Falkirk Council and mains gas not being a viable option, Fiona and I have had a discussion on what the next steps are for the campaign.

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“We have given this our all and dedicating two years of our lives to this campaign, where we have made small steps in progress, gaining extensive media and press coverage of this fuel poverty fight, financial support during winter period, petition submitted to UK Parliament, protests and operating a foodbank to support our local community.

"However, we feel this has now run its course. We have no other routes to take, other than those already explored. The fight ended when Falkirk Council lied to us and took out a four-year maintenance contract with Neat Heat.

"A new system is nowhere near in sight and they knew this all along. They bought another year of this system being installed. We hope you can understand our decision, which wasn't an easy one to make.”

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