Oldham neighbourhoods have among the ‘coldest’ homes in England and Wales, according to analysis released by campaign group Friends of the Earth.

A new series of images has been released alongside the analysis to showcase stories from some of the areas hardest hit by soaring energy prices and the deepening cost of living crisis.

New analysis by the environmental justice organisation has identified 100 of the ‘coldest neighbourhoods’ in each English region and Wales.

Homes in these areas are the hardest to heat due to low energy efficiency ratings, making energy use and bills higher than average, and where most people are also living on low incomes.

In the North West, eight of Oldham’s neighbourhoods appeared in the top 100 coldest in the North West.

Salem, near Lees, was the worst affected in Oldham, featuring in the top 100 in the country and the 12th coldest in the North West, with more than eight per cent of houses in the worst energy efficiency bands.

Werneth followed at 40th coldest in the North West, with 5.5 per cent in the worst bands.

Of the eight Oldham areas on the list, just one had a population not made up of a majority of people of colour.

People of colour are more than twice as likely to live in some of England’s coldest neighbourhoods, according to Friends of the Earth’s analysis.

Friends of the Earth commissioned photojournalist Grey Hutton to meet with families and individuals living in some of the areas affected across the country with a thermal imaging camera.

Among those photographed was 48-year-old Thomas who lives in Rhyl.

He describes “walking around like the Michelin Man”, wearing three pairs of trousers in his home to keep warm because he can’t afford to heat it, citing the standing charge on his pre-payment meter as a driving cause.

The Oldham Times: Thomas, aged 48 says wearing three pairs of trousers has him 'walking around like the Michelin Man'Thomas, aged 48 says wearing three pairs of trousers has him 'walking around like the Michelin Man' (Image: Grey Hutton/Friends of the Earth)

According to research by thermostat maker Tado, the UK has some of the worst insulated homes in Europe, making them expensive to heat as warmth escapes through walls, windows, roofs and doors.

The Oldham Times: Research by Tado shows the UK's homes are some of the worst insulated in EuropeResearch by Tado shows the UK's homes are some of the worst insulated in Europe (Image: Tado)

Last month, a coroner said that the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who died after “chronic exposure” to mould created by damp in his Rochdale home, should be a “defining moment” for the UK’s housing sector.

ALSO READ: Review of Oldham housing stock after Awaab Ishak’s death.

In England, Friends of the Earth is urging the government to commit to a free, nationwide, street-by-street programme of insulation and energy efficiency measures which the group says is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to lower energy bills.

Catriona Currie, warm homes campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Harrowing stories like the ones captured in these striking photos are shamefully all too common right now.

“We have millions of people facing an incredibly bleak winter ahead, and with the festive season right around the corner.

“We’ve heard how people are making every adjustment they can to ease the enormous cost pressures they’re facing, and the cold is far from the only problem – damp issues are putting health and wellbeing at risk too.

“No one should have to live in a freezing home, just so they can afford to pay for food or meet other rising living costs.

“Rapidly rolling out a street-by-street scheme to insulate our heat-leaking homes, prioritising those in most need first, is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to bring down energy bills and cut harmful carbon emissions. The UK government must not delay this essential action to keep people warm and well.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We understand this is a difficult time for families across the country. That’s why we’ve acted quickly to provide support, including our Energy Price Guarantee saving a typical household £900 this winter, a further £400 energy bills discount and the most vulnerable households receiving an additional £1,200 this year.     

“We’re also improving the energy efficiency of homes, with £6.6 billion being invested in energy efficiency measures this parliament and a further £6 billion committed to 2028.”