“These are the people that we need to be thinking about when we think about just transition.”

Interview with Prof. Dr. Lucie Middlemiss, University of Leeds

Lucie Middlemiss



Lucie Middlemiss


Lucie Middlemiss, Professor of Environment and Society at University of Leeds




Leeds, UK


All over Europe, from Spain to the UK, energy prices are currently soaring and the impact it will have this winter on poverty will be huge. In addition to not knowing how to pay the bill, vulnerable people often suffer from physical and mental diseases caused by their situation. Recognizing the struggle, addressing the issue and getting help needs to be made much easier. The consequences of energy poverty on health are widely acknowledged, but current approaches to tackle energy poverty are not seeing the full picture. Considering economic or biomedical indicators is too narrow a perspective.

In this “City Stories” podcast episode, we talk with Lucie Middlemiss about who the energy poor are in Leeds (and elsewhere), why they should be involved in finding the right answers, but also how she thinks research can help improve energy poverty policies in cities in the UK and Europe. Lucie is Professor of Environment and Society at the School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds. Lucie has an impressive track record of research on energy poverty with that particular focus on what is called the “lived experience” approach.

“It can feel to people like

everything is against them.”

On cold days, fierce winds blow through poorly insulated windows in Leeds. And this happens in many of the over hundred high rise buildings owned by the City Council. 7500 households live in these buildings and they endure freezing winters in these towers built in the 60s’. They are what we call people in energy poverty. Leeds is the third largest city of the UK, and the share of low-income inhabitants is significant. 10% of Leeds’s households have experienced energy poverty in 2018. With the “Affordable Warmth Strategy“, the council seeks to improve housing conditions so to ensure that everyone can “afford to stay warm” by 2030.

There is lots of information on that topic out there. Here are a few that you could start with:

This episode was recorded via internet. It is part of “City Stories” which is brought to you by the EU project mPower. mPower explores how cities and citizens can manage the energy transition together – in a fair, clean and democratic way. Participation can happen at various stages: from involving citizens, local NGOs or businesses in the policy design to any stage of the energy value chain: for example as shareholders or even prosumers. The mPower project gets funding from the European Horizon 2020 programme.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mPOWER-1024x239.jpg