The Scottish island laird who has one of the lowest energy bills in Britain

A Scottish island laird has clocked up one of the lowest energy bills in Britain in his mission to save the planet.

However, millionaire Roc Sandford's £100 a year bill, achieved by doing without heating and hot water, does come at a cost.

For he admits there have been times it's been so cold in his five-bedroom home, on the isle of Gometra, that his cup of tea froze.

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Now, as the nation's fuel bills soar, the environmental activist continues to turn his back on fossil fuels and urges others to do the same.

Roc Sandford on Gometra - the Scottish island where he lives

Mr Sandford cooks on a stove fuelled by alcohol at a cost of £50 a year and the only other energy cost for his Hebridean home is for the firelighters and kindling he uses for those special occasions when he lights a fire.

The 64-year-old said: "There was a day when my tea froze in the cup, but it was fine. It froze solid, but I wasn't still drinking it, I had just left it on my desk.

"I was seeing if I could do without fossil fuels, so I have a little alcohol stove, like you would see on a boat, and I get a year's supply of fuel for it for about £50.

"I also sometimes buy firelighters and kindling, so it costs me about £100 a year for fuel all in."

He has experimented with different ways of cutting out gas guzzling energy consumption, because of the impact that has on the planet.

Mr Sandford said: "On Gometra I swim in the sea if it’s warm enough and otherwise I wash in cold water. I wash my clothes in cold water too".

He added: "Last winter I wanted to see if by dressing right I could be comfortable without a fire. With the right clothes it's not a sacrifice. I get very claustrophobic if it's hot and I’ve got the knack now of being warm however cold it is in the house. My approach is to wear lots of layers of wool."

If guests arrive under-prepared, Mr Sandford helps them out, saying: "Because it’s cold, I make sure I have warm clothes I can lend people.

"They love it, it’s like dressing up. Sometimes it’s hard to get them back off them when they are leaving. Sometimes I will give them the clothes to help them make the transition to using less fossil fuels for heating."

His two burner stove is used to heat things up before he finishes cooking meals in thermos flasks.

Mr Sandford, who spent Christmas and New Year alone in Gometra House, said: "On Christmas Eve, I felt like some company so I lit my first fire of the winter.

"I cooked some brussels sprouts from the garden and made myself a nut roast and baked some bread in my thermos flask.

"I’m just experimenting to see in what ways we can be better off by letting go of some of the more dangerous things we’re doing – things which are putting our children’s lives in danger and already killing millions elsewhere in the world."

He added: "Scientists are saying five million people a year are dying already because of temperature changes alone.

"That's like everyone in Scotland dying of climate breakdown every year – and it’s not a film, or a computer game, it's happening to real living people now.

"Just to give an example of the harm burning gas, oil and coal causes, there are about one billion people in countries around the Himalayas, like India and Pakistan, whose food is grown using water from glaciers.

"Because we are burning fossil fuels, those glaciers are melting really fast and in a very short time, those billion people will have no water to grow food."

Mr Sandford, who sees oil as a killer and not just because of climate change, said: "Russian oil has helped fund the invasion into Ukraine.

"Right now, our leaders are betraying us, but only because we let them. I always say all oil is blood oil – when you fill your tank, you are really filling it with blood."

"Russia is the world’s third largest oil and gas producer. Europe gets about 40 per cent of its gas from Russia, and also consumes the bulk of Russian oil.

"By going-slow on the switch from expensive fossil fuels to cheaper renewable energy like solar and wind, Europe’s leaders are simultaneously subsidising the invasion of Ukraine. They are basically shooting Europe in both feet because the climate emergency will kill even more Europeans than Russian tanks will."

He added: "The survival of our children relies on the oceans being alive. Half of our oxygen comes from the oceans. But the oceans are dying because of us using petrol and diesel and gas, and also because of toxic chemicals and plastics going into the water so we are cutting off our own air supply."


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