Greenhouse gases: Who produces most?
Britain's first full survey of household emissions of carbon dioxide, the gas responsible for global warming, was published yesterday - and was full of surprises.
The most polluting homes in the country, the study found, were in the local authority area of Uttlesford in Essex, which is based on the charming market towns of Thaxted, Great Dunmow and Saffron Walden, and was once named as the best place to live in England and Wales.
The most polluting town or city, in domestic CO2 terms, was Reading, ahead of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow, and the biggest-emitting region - by household - was non-industrialised eastern England.
The survey, commissioned by British Gas from the Cambridge-based consultancy Best Foot Forward, is the first full calculation of the amount of CO2 produced by British dwellings.
It examined all 386 British local authorities, looking at energy consumed in terms of electricity, gas and solid fuel, and converting that to a CO2 equivalent.
The study reports that the energy used by Uttlesford's 70,000 citizens produces an annual average of 8,092 kilos of CO2 per dwelling - equivalent to driving an average car 22,500 miles each year.
That is far ahead of the next worst local authority, which is Teesdale in County Durham, another area of attractive scenery, open spaces and market towns such as Barnard Castle.
The borough of Camden, on the other hand, in inner-city London, was the best-performing local authority, with its households producing an annual average of 3,255 kilos of CO2 each.
Of 23 major conurbations surveyed, Reading was the worst offender, with the average house responsible for 6,189 kilos of CO2 per year - the equivalent of driving 17,200 miles annually or flying 13,000 miles. The best performing city was John Prescott's constituency of Hull with CO2 emissions 40 per cent lower than Reading's, at 4,395 kg per annum.
In regional terms, eastern England was worst, with its households producing 5,968 kg per annum, and the best performer was Greater London, at 5,318.
British Gas said domestic CO2 emission levels were 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.
One conclusion to draw from the figures, which indicate that areas of relative affluence are the worst performers, is that people who have more money, spend more on energy.
This may, for example, be in the heating and lighting of bigger homes. In Reading, at the heart of the Thames Valley commuter belt, it may well indicate that local people have more electrical appliances than in other places.
"About 25 per cent of UK carbon emission is generated in domestic properties," said Jill Harrison, head of consumer affairs at British Gas. "The difference between the areas of the UK with low domestic CO2 emissions and those producing high emissions is staggering."
Ben Tuxworth, of the green charity, Forum, said: "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."
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Met Police confirm it was a 'minor disturbance' and no-one was arrested
Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Eccentric Fury star, 28, reveals he is 'not a really confident actor'
Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday
The X Factor's judges colourful outfit was mocked by Simon Cowell
Footage shot by a passerby shows moment an ill man was carried out of his burning home
Heavy rain and winds from Hurricane Gonzalo aftermath to hit Britain next week
The last charge as western black rhino is declared extinct
Brazilian wandering spider: Where are they from and how deadly are they?
Cannibal harlequin ladybirds now threaten native species with STDs
A bug's life: know your ladybirds
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Lynda Bellingham dead: Loose Women presenter dies after battle with colon cancer
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...