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READING NAMED AS THE UK'S HIGHEST CO2 HOT SPOT

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The average Reading house emits the same damaging gases as flying 13,000 miles by Boeing 747 each year...
The average Reading house emits the same damaging gases as flying 13,000 miles by Boeing 747 each year

A survey of household CO2 emissions across the UK has found that out of twenty three of Britain's largest cities measured - Reading in Berkshire, has the highest CO2 emissions per dwelling. Carbon dioxide is the main gas responsible for damaging climate change, it is emitted when energy is used to heat, cool, power and light our homes.

The research, commissioned by British Gas, found that average house in Reading produces 6,189 Kg of CO2 - the equivalent environment impact as driving an average 1.4 - 2.0L family car 17,200 miles each year or flying 13,000 miles - two return flights between London and New York.

Gas consumption in Reading is 27 per cent above the UK average and the report suggests that the size of properties in the south east and the vibrant economy of Reading means that more properties are occupied by home-workers (or small businesses) elevating day time gas usage. Or it may simply be that the relative wealth of Reading's residents means that they are less frugal with their energy.

At the other end of the survey, John Prescott's constituency, Hull comes top as having the lowest CO2 emissions per household. Dwellings in Hull produce 40 per cent less CO2 emissions than the average house in Reading - the equivalent environment impact as driving an average car 12,200 miles or flying 9,200 miles. Hull's gas consumption is 19 per cent below the UK's average and its electricity use is 15 per cent below the average.

The report also calculated the carbon dioxide emissions across all local authority areas of the UK. And Reading can at least take some comfort.

The area producing the highest domestic CO2 emissions per household across all local authority regions is Uttlesford in Essex. These homes, on average, produce 8,092 Kg CO2 per dwelling - about 30 per cent higher than Reading and the equivalent environment impact as driving an average car 22,500 miles each year or flying 17,000 miles.

Ironically, in 2001 Uttlesford was named by The Sunday Times as the best place to live in England and Wales. The Rural district includes the historic market towns of Saffron Walden, Thaxted and Great Dunmow.

Domestic emission levels are due to a variety of factors including age and type of housing stock, quality of heating systems, ownership of appliances, occupancy levels, fuel mix and habits of occupants.

The Eastern Region - which includes Uttlesford - has the lowest connection to the gas network outside of Scotland and electricity usage is 25 per cent above average, and this being Aga country, oil consumption per household is four times the national average. The SAP rating, an accepted measure of a property's energy efficiency shows the area is below the national average, suggesting, as you might expect with historical areas, older poorly insulated properties.

The lowest CO2 emissions per dwelling was the London Borough of Camden with 3,255 kgCO2 per dwelling, the equivalent environment impact as driving an average car of just 9,000 miles each year or flying 6,900 miles (see below for comment by Camden LBC).

Jill Harrison, head of consumer affairs, British Gas said: 'Around 25 percent of UK carbon emission is generated in domestic properties. The difference between the areas of the UK with low domestic CO2 emissions and those producing high emissions is staggering. With£1 in every£3 spent heating homes being wasted it is clear that energy efficiency in particular has the potential to deliver dramatic emissions reductions and reduce energy bills

'The chancellor, in his budget, has made£20m available to Local Authorities to promote energy efficiency. It's clear that urgent action from poor performing councils is needed now if the government is to reach the target of a 20 per cent reduction in CO2 by 2010.'

Ben Tuxworth, Forum for the Future strategy director, said: 'This report comes as a wake up call to those who think reducing domestic CO2 emissions is a luxury for the wealthy. Downward pressure on prices seems to mean that it's only the less affluent users that bother to save energy. If the rich are using over three times as much energy as the poor, we need to incentivise them to clean up their act.'

A full report of domestic emission levels for the UK and a UK map showing C02 levels by region are available on the Publications page.

Notes

CO2 emissions of the 23 major cities measured: (figures rounded)

Carbon dioxide emissions - five highest by kg CO2 per dwelling per year

1.Reading 6,189 or equivalent of driving 17,200 miles by car or flying 13,000 miles

2.Leicester 5,565 or equivalent of driving 15,458 miles by car or flying 11,700 miles

3.Bradford 5,539 or equivalent of driving 15,386 miles by car or flying 11,650 miles

4.Sunderland 5,504 or equivalent of driving 15,288 miles by car or flying 11,600 miles

5.Birmingham 5,424 or equivalent of driving 15,066 miles by car or flying 11,400 miles

Carbon dioxide emissions -five lowest by kg CO2 per dwelling per year

1.City of Hull 4,395 or equivalent of driving 12,200 miles by car or flying 9,250 miles

2.Plymouth 4,447 or equivalent of driving 12,352 miles by car or flying 9,350 miles

3.Southampton 4,563 or equivalent of driving 12,675 miles by car or flying 9,600 miles

4.Glasgow 4,611 or equivalent of driving 12,808 miles by car or flying 9,700 miles

5.Derby 4,814 or equivalent of driving 13,372 miles by car or flying 10,100 miles

CO2 emissions of the all UK local authority area's (includes the 23 city list)

Carbon dioxide emissions - five highest by kg CO2 per dwelling per year (rounded)

1.Uttlesford 8,092 or equivalent of driving 22,500 miles by car or flying 17,000 miles

2.Teesdale 7,731 or equivalent of driving 21,475 miles by car or flying 16,250 miles

3.Surrey Heath 7,477 or equivalent of driving 20,769 miles by car or flying 15,750 miles

4.Chiltern 7,421 or equivalent of driving 20,613 miles by car or flying 15,600 miles

5.S.Oxfordshire 7,356 or equivalent of driving 20,433 miles by car or flying 15,500 miles

Carbon dioxide emissions - five lowest by kg CO2 per dwelling per year

1. Camden 3,255 or equivalent of driving 9,041 miles by car or flying 6,850 miles

2. Eastbourne 3,296 or equivalent of driving 9,155 miles by car or flying 6,900 miles

3. Norwich 3,802 or equivalent of driving 10,561 miles by car or flying 8,000 miles

4. Westminster 4,033 or equivalent of driving 11,202 miles by car or flying 8,500 miles

5. Hackney 4,036 or equivalent of driving 11,211 miles by car or flying 8,500 miles

Carbon dioxide emissions for 23 selected Cities (electricity, gas, oil & coal)

City Average kg CO2 per dwelling

per year

Reading 6,189

Leicester 5,565

Bradford 5,539

Sunderland 5,504

Birmingham 5,424

Nottingham 5,419

Leeds 5,333

Greater London 5,318

Sheffield 5,247

Aberdeen City 5,175

Newcastle upon Tyne 5,150

Edinburgh, City of 5,142

Liverpool 5,073

Bristol, City of 5,041

Cardiff 5,035

Coventry 4,911

Brighton & Hove 4,905

Manchester 4,862

Derby 4,814

Glasgow City 4,611

Southampton 4,563

Plymouth 4,447

Kingston upon Hull, City of 4,395

Note: 1,000 kilogrammes is equal to 1 tonne.

Car calculations based on 1 mile = 0.36kg CO2 or 225 grammes of CO2 per kilometre. Equivalent to normal driving conditions in a 2 litre car (see http:www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk for actual emissions for different vehicles).

Air travel calculations based on 0.11kg CO2 per passenger kilometre (figure for short haul flight given by DEFRA - http:www.defra.gov.uk/environment/business/envrp/gas/envrpgas-annexes.pdf)

Flight calculations based on single flight to New York = 0.11kgCO2 per passenger kilometres x 5,600 kilometres (one-way) = 616 kgCO2. This figure is then multiplied by 2.7 to take into account the fact that emissions in the upper atmosphere are more damaging than those at ground level. Total = 1.7 tCO2 per one-way flight London - New York. Note that there are a number of factors which can significantly affect this figure including the efficiency of the aircraft, load factor, amount of freight carried, flight profile, how upper atmospheric emissions are accounted, and so on.

Research conducted by Best Foot Forward Ltd on behalf of British Gas using published data from DTI and DEFRA.

CO2 EMISSIONS IN CAMDEN ARE THE LOWEST IN THE UK

Households in the London Borough of Camden emit the lowest amounts of domestic CO2, according to a survey of all local authorities across the UK published yesterday (22 May).

The Green City report calculated levels of carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to climate change, across local authorities and cities in the UK. It found that Camden has the lowest CO2 emissions per dwelling, with 3,255kg per household. This is the equivalent environmental impact of driving an average car 9,000 miles per year or flying 6,900 miles. In contrast, Uttlesford in Essex was the local authority with the highest domestic CO2 emissions per household, producing 8,092kg per dwelling. This equates to driving an average car 22,500 miles each year or flying 17,000 miles.

Carbon dioxide is the main gas responsible for damaging climate change, emitted when energy is used to heat, cool, power and light homes. Domestic emission levels are due to a variety of factors including age and type of housing, quality of heating systems, ownership of appliances, occupancy levels, fuel mix and habits of occupants. Domestic emissions are estimated to make up 19 per cent of CO2 emissions in Camden.

Camden Council approved its Climate Change Action Plan in September 2005, which sets out how it plans to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases within the borough by 2009.

Quentin Given, Head of Environmental Health, Camden Council, said:

'Camden Council aims to address the worldwide issue of climate change locally through its Climate Change Action Plan. It is often difficult to see how our actions as individuals equate to such a global problem. Yet if we tackle climate change collectively, simple actions such as switching off lights when you leave a room and putting your waste in a recycling bin start to make a huge difference.'

The council runs a free Warmth for All helpline on 0800 801738 offering advice to residents and businesses on grants for heating and insulation, changing fuel suppliers, energy saving tips, fuel debt and benefit checks.

For more information on energy-saving measures see www.camden.gov.uk/energy

Notes

For details of Camden's Council's Climate Change Action Plan see: www.camden.gov.uk. The council has set targets to improve the energy efficiency of council buildings by 1.5 per cent per year, using renewably generated energy where possible, and recycling more of its own waste. Targets also include improving energy efficiency of its housing stock and of the private sector, particularly targeting homes in fuel poverty. Actions to reduce emissions from housing stock between 1996 and 2003, such as insulation, have already raised energy efficiency by 10.3 per cent. A combination of council intervention and private energy efficiency measures has improved efficiency by 9.4 per cent for Camden's private housing.

Simple energy-saving tips include:

- Use low energy light bulbs wherever you can as they use less than a quarter of the electricity used by ordinary light bulbs and can last up to 15 times longer! Over their lifetime, low energy bulbs can save 1 tonne of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.

- Put draught strips around windows and outside doors and fit a flap across the letter-box.

- Only use your washing machine with a full load. Always use the low temperature programme bearing in mind that modern washing powders will be just as effective at lower temperatures. Use a clothes line where possible, but if you do need to tumble dry them, wring out or spin-dry really wet clothes before putting them into a tumble dryer.

- Don't leave your fridge door open for longer than necessary, and avoid putting hot or warm food straight into the fridge. If you have your fridge next to a cooker or boiler, leave a good gap between them

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