UK energy transition creating 'worrying' regional divides

19th November 2018

Web uk energy istock 650696870

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Energy ,
  • Transport ,
  • Fossil fuels ,
  • Renewable



The UK risks becoming a two-tier economy as more affluent areas take advantage of the country's shift to a low-carbon energy system while other regions miss out, scientists have warned.

In a report published today, researchers from Imperial College London (ICL) reveal how differences in government investment, local policies and average household income are creating regional divides.

Areas like London and Scotland are set to enjoy new growth, cheaper energy bills, electric vehicles and smart appliances thanks to the country's 'energy revolution', while regions like the north of England and East Midlands are likely to fall behind.

“Britain is at risk of creating a two-tier economy, leaving millions of families and businesses less well equipped to enjoy cheaper bills and better health outcomes,” ICL's Dr Iain Staffell, said.

“Our concern is they will not be offered the same opportunities as people living in regions which are modernising their energy infrastructure.”

The report reveals that London receives 45% of national funds for rail electrification, which has led to it producing the lowest levels of emissions from rail in the country.

It is also cheaper, on average, to own an electric car in London than in any other part of the country, with drivers typically travelling shorter distances and being exempt from the capital's congestion charge.

Scotland leads the energy revolution with London thanks to its move away from fossil fuels and uptake of renewables, with the region also enjoying a high number of electric vehicle charging points despite low population density.

Residential homes in leading areas like London, Scotland and the East are also more energy efficient, and more likely to score a high A-C Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, and have fewer buildings rated F and G.

In comparison, regions like Wales, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and the north of England suffer from particularly low EPC ratings, while fuel poverty in these areas is also high.

The researchers said rising electric heating could result in increasing energy bills in these regions unless homes can be made more energy efficient, or the cost of heating can be reduced, particularly for vulnerable residents.

Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax Group, which commissioned the research, said: “There is an energy revolution underway, but this report uncovers worrying regional divides as we go through that transition.

“We will work with all our partners, including governments, to ensure no one is left behind through the energy revolution.”

Image credit: iStock


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

IEMA reviews political party manifestos

Ahead of the UK general election next month, IEMA has analysed the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green Party manifestos in relation to the sustainability agenda.

19th June 2024

Read more

Sarah Spencer on the clear case for stronger partnerships between farmers and renewable energy developers

6th June 2024

Read more

A system-level review is needed to deliver a large-scale programme of retrofit for existing buildings. Failure to do so will risk missing net-zero targets, argues Amanda Williams

31st May 2024

Read more

Chris Seekings reports from a webinar helping sustainability professionals to use standards effectively

31st May 2024

Read more

Although many organisations focus on scope 1 and 2 emissions, it is vital to factor in scope 3 emissions and use their footprint to drive business change

31st May 2024

Read more

Joe Nisbet explores the challenges and opportunities of delivering marine net gain through offshore renewables

31st May 2024

Read more

IEMA submits response to the Future Homes Standard consultation

31st May 2024

Read more

Hello and welcome to the June/July of Transform.

31st May 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close