The Government recognises that the cost of both road fuel and domestic heating energy are significant issues in rural communities, particularly in more remote areas. The position is complex and varies across the country, but fuel and energy prices in many rural areas are higher than the national average and choices that urban residents take for granted, for example between competing petrol suppliers or different forms of heating fuel, are often not available to rural consumers.
This short report summarises the outcomes of work to better understand the current pressures and ensure that the particular needs of rural residents are taken into account as relevant policies and programmes are developed and implemented. It does not seek to present the full detail of other Departments’ policy responsibilities, for example HMT policy on road fuel duty or DECC policy on carbon emissions, energy efficiency and fuel poverty. Instead, it seeks to highlight action taken across a wide range of policies and initiatives to mitigate the negative impact of fuel and energy prices in rural areas.
In addition to summarising progress over the past year, this paper outlines a number of further initiatives which will also deliver benefits in rural areas.