Britons accused of wasting more energy than anyone else in Europe

A A A

British people waste more energy than the inhabitants of any other major western European nation, hastening climate change and adding £2.5bn to annual fuel bills, according to research.

A poll of 5,000 Europeans by the Energy Saving Trust found the average Briton admitted to 32 bad habits such as leaving lights on in empty rooms, more than twice as many as the most energy conscious nation.

In interviews last month released for the start of Energy Efficiency Week today, Germans admitted to having 14 energy wasting habits, the Spanish 16, the French 19 and the Italians 25.

By contrast, the UK was revealed to be a nation of "standby junkies", with 71 per cent rarely if ever switching off televisions, DVD players, computers and other electrical appliances.

Two-thirds of people boiled surplus water in kettles, and 65 per cent left mobile phone and other chargers needlessly plugged in to the mains. Two-thirds left lights on in empty rooms.

Householders could save £11bn in fuel bills by 2010 by eliminating the waste as well as prevent the release into the atmosphere of 43 million ton of carbon dioxide, estimated the EST. It calculated the unnecessary carbon dioxide was equivalent to the annual emissions of 7 million homes.

The poll, conducted in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy by ICM, revealed that Britons wasted the most energy.

The only area in which the British performed well was in donning extra clothing rather than turning up the heating. Among the details, British men and women were equally likely to waste energy, though men were less likely to feel guilty about it. One in five men felt no guilt at all.

In terms of age, the most profligate groups were children, of whom their parents said 70 per cent made no effort to save energy, and the over-65s, of whom 27 per cent made no effort to save energy.

However the report found support among 57 per cent of people for official "environmental health" warnings on inefficient products.

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of Energy Saving Trust, said that 40 per cent of the population appeared to be resistant to energy efficiency."We, in the past five or six years, have been living on the energy cheap and perhaps that's why people haven't paid the attention we want. And now with energy bills approaching £1,000 if you can reduce you bills by £300 through a few no-cost simple measures then that is something I think even the relatively well-off will pay attention to," he said.

Amid growing political concern over climate change, 404 MPs have signed a Commons Early Day Motion calling for a new law requiring annual cuts in UK emissions. The call is backed by the main opposition parties.

Last month, one of global authorities on the subject, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, warned that Britain had just four years to plan a low-carbon economy where petrol stations would be redundant in order to do its bit to avoid climate change.

The study said the UK must cut emissions by 70 per cent in the next 30 years; the Government's target is 60 per cent by 2050.

Scientists believe climate change caused by greenhouse gases has been behind extreme weather in recent years, such as Hurricane Katrina last year.

Britain's bad habits

* 71 per cent leave appliances on standby

* 67 per cent boil more water than needed in kettles

* 65 per cent leave chargers plugged in

* 63 per cent don't turn off lights in empty rooms

* 48 per cent use the car for short journeys

* 44 per cent wash clothes at 60F

* 32 per cent leave the engine running while the car is stationary

* 32 per cent use the tumble dryer when the washing line could be used

* 28 per cent have the central heating on in an empty house

* 22 per cent turn up the thermostat instead of reaching for a jumper

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup