Total discovered gas reserves peaked at 1,985.0 billion cubic metres in 1997, and declined 64.3% to 709.0 billion cubic metres in 2011
Fuel use of 193.6 Million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2011 is the lowest since the series began in 1990. In 2011 fuel use was 9.3% lower than in 1990 and 7.7% lower than in 2010
Natural gas use, the fuel used most since 1993, peaked in 2004 at 96.5 Mtoe, and has fluctuated since with 76.6 Mtoe consumed in 2011
Energy consumption from fossil fuels declined 7.4% between 1990 and 2011 to 188.2 Mtoe, the lowest level since the series began in 1990. Between 2010 and 2011, energy consumption from fossil fuels fell 7.8%
In 2011, 8.8 Mtoe of energy was consumed from renewable and waste sources, 6.5 times greater than in 1990. In 2011, this contributed 4.1% of total energy consumption
Energy consumption from biofuels has increased from zero in 1990 to 1.9 Mtoe in 2011, and now contributes similar levels to energy consumption as other renewable sources
Greenhouse gas emissions in 2011 were at their lowest level at 634.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, 21.3% lower than when the series began in 1990
PM10 emissions, which are airborne particulate matter that can be caused by diesel engine vehicles and adversely affect health, fell 51.4% between 1990 and 2011, despite the use of diesel increasing
Total material requirement, a measure of the economy’s material needs, increased 5.5% from a record low between 2010 and 2011 to 1,730.5 million tonnes
In 2012 the UK government received £44.5 billion from environmental taxes, equivalent to 2.9% of Gross Domestic Product
Environmental Accounts are “satellite accounts” to the main National Accounts. Satellite accounts are extensions to National Accounts, which facilitate analysis of the wider impact of economic change. They are compiled in accordance with the System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA), which closely follows the UN System of National Accounts (SNA).
Environmental Accounts measure what impacts the economy has on the environment (for example, pollution) and how the environment contributes to the economy (for example, use of raw materials and resource efficiency) by using the accounting framework and concepts of the national accounts.
UK Environmental Accounts are used to inform sustainable development policy, to model impacts of fiscal or monetary measures and to evaluate the environmental impacts of different sectors of the economy. Most data are provided in units of physical measurement (mass or volume), although some are in monetary units, where this is the most relevant or the only data available.
What is included in this release?
Environmental Accounts have been separated into three categories:
Natural resource accounts
Oil and gas reserves: providing information in physical terms.
Physical flow account
Fossil fuel and energy consumption: a breakdown of fossil fuel use and energy consumption by source and industry
Atmospheric emissions: a breakdown of greenhouse gas emissions by types of gases and industry
Material flows: presents information on the total mass of natural resources and products used by the UK
Environmental taxes: information on government revenue from environmental taxes
Environmental protection expenditure: a breakdown of environmental protection expenditure by General Government and UK industry
Changes in key environmental and economic measures, 2010-2011
The UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1.0% in 2011, compared with 2010. Average temperature in the UK rose by 20.0% during the same period. The warm weather contributed to UK energy consumption and Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decreasing, as demand for natural gas fell. A contrast with the average temperature in a particularly cold 2010 which fell by 11.4% compared with 2009.
The relationships between the economy and the environment are further explored in this bulletin.
Back to table of contents
Oil reserves and resources1
At the end of 2011, the upper range of total oil reserves and resources (discovered reserves and undiscovered resources) was 2,427.0 million tonnes. This was 39.8 million tonnes lower (1.6%) than in 2010. This was due to a 53.0 million tonne fall in the upper range of undiscovered resources, which was partly offset by a 13.2 million tonne increase in maximum discovered reserves.
Discovered oil reserves
Total (maximum) discovered oil reserves increased by 13.2 million tonnes (1.2%) between 2010 and 2011 to 1,106.0 million tonnes. This was due to an increase in proven reserves.
Proven oil reserves rose by 39.3 million tonnes to 413.1 million tonnes
Probable reserves fell by 2.3 million tonnes to 374.4 million tonnes
Possible reserves fell by 23.8 million tonnes to 318.5 million tonnes
The increase in proven oil reserves was mainly due to development approval of several large oil projects in 2011.
Total discovered reserves peaked at 2,075.0 million tonnes in 1992 and 1994. Between 1994 and 2011 total discovered reserves declined by 46.7%. Most of this decline occurred in the mid 1990's when the extraction of oil reached its peak. Following the slow-down of extraction in the 2000s, the total discovered reserves have remained relatively stable between 2003 and 2011.
Undiscovered oil resources
The estimated upper range of the UK’s undiscovered oil resources, decreased between 2010 and 2011 by 3.9% to 1,321.0 million tonnes. This was mainly due to the re-assessment of existing prospects and leads in the Central North Sea.
In the mid 1990s there were large declines in the upper range of undiscovered reserves. Notably, there was a 1,785 million tonne fall between 1995 and 1996.
Extraction of oil in 2011 fell 11.0 million tonnes to 52.0 million tonnes compared with 2010. The extraction of oil declined sharply between 2002 and 2006, but has since fallen at a slower rate. The extraction in 2011 is the lowest level since the record began in 1989.
Gas reserves and resources
At the end of 2011, the upper range of total gas reserves and resources were 1,686.0 billion cubic metres, down 116.3 billion cubic metres (6.5%) from 2010. This was due to a fall in both the upper range of undiscovered resources and total discovered reserves.
Discovered gas reserves
The downward trend in total discovered (maximum) reserves continued in 2011, falling by 72.3 billion cubic metres to 709.0 billion cubic metres when compared with 2010. Between 2010 and 2011:
Proven reserves declined by 6.6 billion cubic metres to 246.0 billion cubic metres
Probable reserves fell by 20.8 billion cubic metres to 246.5 billion cubic metres
Possible reserves declined by 45.0 billion cubic metres to 216.4 billion cubic metres
Total discovered (maximum) reserves peaked at 1,985 billion metres in 1997. Between 1997 and 2011, total discovered (maximum) reserves declined 64.3% to 709.0 billion cubic metres.
Undiscovered gas resources
The upper range of the UK’s undiscovered gas resources decreased between 2010 and 2011 by 4.3% to 977.0 billion cubic metres. This was mainly due to re-assessment of existing prospects and leads in the Central North Sea.
Extraction and expected level of reserves
Extraction of gas between 2010 and 2011 fell 11.6 billion cubic metres to 42.9 billion cubic metres. This is the lowest level since 1990. Gas extraction peaked in 2000 at 108.3 billion cubic metres and has gradually declined since.
Gas reserves have depleted more rapidly than oil reserves. Between 1995 and 2011, the expected level of gas reserves (proven and probable closing stocks) fell 66.7%. This is despite the fact that gas extraction has declined over the years. This partly reflects the fact that North Sea gas extraction is relatively mature. Development and extraction of the North Sea oil fields began almost a decade ago. More detail on Oil and Gas Reserves and Resources is available here: ‘ESTIMATES OF REMAINING RECOVERABLE OIL&GAS RESERVES’ (44.5 Kb Excel sheet)
Notes for Oil and gas reserves and resources
- Oil and gas reserves are discovered, while oil and gas resources are undiscovered
Total fuel use1 of 193.6 Million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2011 is the lowest since the series began in 1990. In 2011 it was 9.3% lower than in 1990 and 7.7% lower than in 2010. The fall in 2011 is partly due to warmer weather, a contrast to the particularly cold 2010, which contributed to fuel use increasing 3.8% between 2009 and 2010.
Natural gas has been the fuel used most since 1993. The use of natural gas peaked in 2004 at 96.5 Mtoe, and has fluctuated since with only 76.6 Mtoe consumed in 2011.
Between 2010 and 2011 natural gas use declined by 17.0% (15.7 Mtoe), the biggest fall in natural gas consumption since the series began in 1990
The decline was due to a number of unexpected slowdowns and maintenance issues on the UK Continental Shelf
Coal use has declined from 66.2 Mtoe in 1990 to 33.0 Mtoe in 2011.
This represents a 50.2% (33.3 Mtoe) reduction
This is mainly due to switching from coal to natural gas
Natural gas use increased 48.7% between 1990 and 2011 to 76.6 Mtoe
There has been a gradual shift from petrol to diesel since 1990.
Use of petrol has decreased by 11.7 Mtoe (42.8%) to 15.6 Mtoe in 2011
Diesel (Derv) has increased by 11.5 Mtoe (97.3%) to 23.3 Mtoe in 2011
Since the series began in 1990, use of other fuels has decreased by 11.6 Mtoe, (20.4%) to 45.1 Mtoe.
- Aviation fuel was the biggest other fuel in 2011. Use of Aviation Fuel increased 81.0% from 8.4 Mtoe in 1990 to 15.2 Mtoe in 2011 (to make up 33.7% of total other fuels)
For more detailed fuel use data see 'Fuel Use by Type’ (14.4 Kb Excel sheet) and ‘Energy by industry, source and fuel’. (1.75 Mb Excel sheet)
Notes for Fuel use by type
- Total fuel use differs from energy consumption as some fuels are transformed before they are consumed. Energy consumption also includes energy from additional sources to those reported in this Fuel use section, such as nuclear, imports, renewables and waste
Total energy consumption of primary fuels and equivalents is made up of the direct use of energy from fossil fuels, energy from renewable & waste sources, net imports of energy and nuclear energy.
Total energy consumption in 2011 was 213.1 Million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), falling 12.8 Mtoe (5.6%) when compared with 2010
This is the lowest level of energy consumption since the series began in 1990
Fossil fuel use is by far the largest component of total direct use of energy, contributing 88.3% of total direct use in 2011.
Energy consumption from fossil fuels fell to 188.2 Mtoe in 2011, the lowest point since the series began in 1990
There has been a 15.0 Mtoe (7.4%) decrease in energy consumption from fossil fuels since 1990
This decline is mostly due to a fall in coal combustion in coke production
Between 2010 and 2011 fossil fuel use declined by 15.9 Mtoe (7.8%)
Total energy consumption from other sources, which include nuclear, net imports and renewable & waste sources, increased by 3.1 Mtoe (14.1%) between 2010 and 2011 to 24.9 Mtoe.
In 2011 15.6 Mtoe of nuclear energy was used, contributing 7.3% of total energy consumption
Since 1990 energy consumption from net imports has fallen from 1.0 Mtoe (when it accounted for 0.5% of total energy consumption) to 0.5 Mtoe (accounting for 0.2% of total energy consumption)
On the other hand, energy consumption from renewable energy and waste source has increased from 1.4 Mtoe (when it accounted for 0.6% of total energy consumption) to 8.8 Mtoe (accounting for 4.1% of total energy consumption)
Reallocated energy consumption by industry group
The energy consumption of primary fuels and equivalents is reallocated1 by final consumer industry group.
The sectors that contribute the most to reallocated energy consumption are household and manufacturing.
Households2 were the greatest consumers of reallocated energy between 1990 and 2011, using 75.2 Mtoe in 2011.
Compared to 2010, there was a 10.9 Mtoe (12.7%) decline in household energy consumption in 2011, the lowest figure since the series started in 1990
Between 1990 and 2011, household energy consumption dropped 3.0 Mtoe (3.8%). This is mostly due to a decrease from domestic combustion of natural gas
The manufacturing industry was the second greatest user of reallocated energy between 1990 and 2011, consuming 50.5 Mtoe in 2011.
There has been a 15.2 Mtoe decline (23.1%) in energy consumption in this industry since 1990
Between 2010 and 2011, energy consumption in this industry increased 0.1%
In 2009 this industry reported the lowest figure of energy consumption (49.4 Mtoe) since the series began in 1990
Energy consumption has gradually risen again in this sector, increasing 2.2% between 2009 and 2011
In the transport & communication industry, reallocated energy consumption increased by 3.0% between 2010 and 2011 to 34.4 Mtoe.
In this industry energy consumption peaked in 2005 at 38.3 Mtoe, after a gradual year on year increase. The figures have fluctuated slightly since
Between 1990 and 2011, energy consumption in this sector increased 38.9%. The increase is mainly due to an increase in aviation turbine fuel consumption
Reallocated energy consumption in the electricity, water & waste sector declined by 2.3% between 2010 and 2011 to 10.7 Mtoe.
The decline between 2010 and 2011 was mostly due to a reduction in natural gas combustion in power stations
Since 1990 energy consumption in this industry has increased 32.1%
In the mining and quarrying sector there was a 9.7% fall in reallocated energy consumption between 2010 and 2011, declining to 6.2 Mtoe
The decline in 2011 was due primarily to a decrease in natural gas combustion in upstream oil and gas production
Since 1990 energy consumption in this industry has increased by 11.5%
This is partly due to an increase in natural gas use in oil and gas production in this industry
For more detailed energy data see: 'Energy Consumption’ (165.5 Kb Excel sheet) , 'Energy Use and Intensity by Industry’ (110.1 Kb Excel sheet) and ‘Energy by industry, source and fuel’ (1.75 Mb Excel sheet)
Reconciling environmental accounts estimates with DECC estimates
Environmental Accounts estimates follow the UN System of Environmental Economic Accounts (SEEA) framework which is an internationally agreed standard3.
They are not reported on the same basis as published by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) in the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES). The National Accounts measure includes energy consumed by UK companies and households abroad and excludes emissions by foreign residents in the UK as well as further differences in definition. As a result of this and other differences the DUKES measure for UK energy consumption is 1.4 Mtoe lower than the environmental accounts measure in 2011.
The 'Energy bridging table' (27.8 Kb Excel sheet) shows the differences between the two estimates.
You can get further detail of the relationship between environmental accounts measures and those released by DECC from the 'energy bridging table and methodology article'.
Notes for Energy consumption
Energy consumption includes energy used during the process of transformation into electricity, and the energy lost in distributing electricity to end users, either directly to the electricity generation sector, or indirectly to the consumers of energy. ’Direct use of energy including electricity’ allocates the consumption of energy directly to the immediate consumer of the energy while ‘Reallocated energy’ allocates these ‘electricity overheads’ to the end user of the electricity
The household category includes consumer expenditure and activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods and services-producing activities of households for own use
For more information see http://unstats.un.org/unsd/envaccounting/seea.asp
In 2011, 8.8 Million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) of energy was consumed from renewable and waste sources, contributing 4.1% of total energy consumption. Energy consumption from renewable and waste sources in 2011 was 6.5 times greater than in 1990. Total energy consumption from renewable and waste sources has risen year on year since 1991, with the exception of 1995 to 1996, where there was a 3.8% decrease.
There was a 14.0% increase between 2010 and 2011 in consumption from renewable and waste sources.
Renewable generation1 sources saw the greatest rise between 2010 and 2011, increasing 54.6% to 1.8 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe)
Biofuels2 increased 8.7% to 1.9 Mtoe
Wood and straw3 rose 10.1% to 1.8 Mtoe
Waste4 increased 3.8% to 3.3 Mtoe
Energy consumption from renewable generation sources has increased from 0.5 Mtoe to 1.8 Mtoe between 1990 and 2011. Within this category:
Wind, wave & tidal has risen from 0.02 Mtoe in 1993 to 1.33 Mtoe in 2011, and is now the largest contributor to this category. A 51.1% rise occurred between 2010 and 2011
A figure for Solar photovoltaic energy was reported for the first year in 2011 at 0.02 Mtoe
The contribution of waste sources to energy consumption increased from 0.4 Mtoe to 3.3 Mtoe between 1990-2011.
- This increase is largely due to landfill gas increasing by 1.6 Mtoe, and municipal solid waste (MSW) increasing by 1.0 Mtoe since 1990
Wood and straw
Energy consumption from wood and straw has increased by 1.2 Mtoe since the series began in 1990 to 1.8 Mtoe in 2011.
- Wood is the biggest contributor to this category, providing 1.5 Mtoe in 2011
Energy consumption from biofuels has increased from zero in 1990 to 1.9 Mtoe in 2011.
The first energy consumption from biodiesel was reported in 2003
In 2011, biodiesel was the greatest contributor to the biofuels category, contributing 0.8 Mtoe (0.4%) of total energy consumption in 2011
Renewable & waste sources by industry
The sectors with the largest increases in energy consumption from renewable and waste sources are households, manufacturing and electricity, water & waste.
Since 2005 reallocated energy consumption from renewable and waste sources was greatest in the household sector.
In 2011, households consumed 2.7 Mtoe of energy from renewable and waste sources, increasing 10.2% compared with 2010
In 2011, 30.9% of total energy consumption from renewable and waste sources was by households
This rise is due primarily to an increase from wood combustion in domestic combustion and from the introduction of biofuels in road transport
Manufacturing industry energy consumption from renewable and waste sources increased 26.6% between 2010 and 2011 to 2.2 Mtoe.
In 2011, 24.9% of total energy consumption from renewable and waste sources was from the manufacturing industry
Energy consumption from renewable and waste sources has increased by 1.8 Mtoe since 1990 in this sector
The 1.8 Mtoe increase in renewable and waste sources energy consumption in this sector between 1990 and 2011, was partly due to an increase from industrial biomass combustion
In the electricity, water & waste industry, energy consumption from renewable and waste sources increased 11.0% between 2010 and 2011 to 1.8 Mtoe.
Since 1990 renewable and waste source energy consumption in this sector was 6 times larger compared to 2011, increasing by 1.5 Mtoe
This rise is due primarily to an increase from Municipal Solid waste (MSW) combustion in power stations
For more detailed energy data see: 'Energy consumption from renewables and waste' (120 Kb Excel sheet) , ‘Energy Consumption from Renewable Sources used to generate heat (89.5 Kb Excel sheet) ' and 'Energy by industry, source and fuel' (1.75 Mb Excel sheet)
Notes for Renewable and waste sources
Renewable generation includes hydroelectric power, wind, wave & tidal, solar photovoltaic, and geothermal aquifers
Biofuels include liquid biofuels, bioethanol, biodiesel and biomass
Wood and straw includes wood, straw and charcoal
Waste includes landfill gas, sewage gas, municipal solid waste and poultry litter
Energy intensity1 (energy use per unit of value added) may be used to provide an indication of energy efficiency. A reduction in energy intensity may indicate a more efficient use of energy in production processes. It may also indicate changes to the structure of the economy.
Between 2010 and 2011 energy intensity of the UK economy, excluding consumer expenditure, declined 2.2% to 4.5 Terajoules (TJ)2 per £ million value added.
This means that a greater amount of output was produced for each unit of electricity consumed
There was a much smaller fall of 0.2% between 2009 and 2010, following an increase in energy consumption due to a particularly cold winter
Energy intensity has been following a downward trend during the period examined.
Between 1997, when the series began, and 2011 it has declined 31.8%
During this period, non-household Gross Value Added (GVA) increased by 34.0%. Non-household energy consumption however, declined by 8.6%
This suggests economic growth may be sustainable in terms of the impact on energy consumption
Energy intensity data are available here: 'Energy intensity by industry' (16.5 Kb Excel sheet) .
Energy intensity in 1997 and 2011 was greatest in the agriculture, forestry & fishing and manufacturing industries.
Since 1997, energy intensity declined 10.8% in the agriculture, forestry & fishing sector to 16.3 TJ per £ million value added
In the manufacturing sector, energy intensity fell 17.7% between 1997 and 2011 to 15.1 TJ per £ million value added
Between 1997 and 2011 energy intensity increased in the electricity, water & waste and mining & quarrying industries.
In the electricity, water & waste industry, energy intensity increased by 23.5% between 1997 and 2011 to 12.8 TJ per £ million value added
In this sector, between 1997 and 2011, energy consumption increased at a faster rate than GVA
However, between 2010 and 2011, energy intensity declined 2.1% in this sector
In the mining & quarrying sector, energy intensity increased 64.0% between 1997 and 2011 to 10.4 TJ per £ million value added
In this sector, between 1997 and 2011, energy consumption fell at a slower rate than the decline in GVA
Energy intensity has been increasing in the mining & quarrying industry since 2007
There was a considerable fall in energy intensity of 31.6% in the transport & communication industry between 1997 and 2011.
- Between 2010 and 2011 however, energy intensity in this sector increased 2.6% to 10.4 TJ per £ million value added
For more detailed energy intensity data see: 'Energy use and Intensity by Industry' (110.1 Kb Excel sheet) .
Notes for Energy intensity
Energy intensity is calculated by dividing Reallocated Energy Consumption by Gross Value Added (GVA). GVA is the difference between output and intermediate consumption for any given sector/industry. That is, the difference between the value of goods and services produced (the output) and the cost of raw materials and other inputs which are used up in production (the intermediate consumption). Data are in constant prices with 2009 defined as the base year. Energy intensity calculations include reallocated energy from wood and straw, renewable generation, biofuels and waste sources. Energy use per unit of value added is in the United Nations (UN) energy intensity indicators as defined in the UN sustainable development indicators, although consumer expenditure is included by the UN. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Green Growth indicators include the inverse, energy productivity, i.e. GDP per unit of energy supply. All energy intensity figures exclude consumer expenditure
As energy use declined and GVA increased
Greenhouse gas emissions
Greenhouse gas1 (GHG) emissions in 2011 were 634.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent2, 5.4% lower than in 2010. Compared to 1990 when the series began, they were 21.3% lower in 2011, the lowest level in the series. In 2011:
carbon dioxide made up the greatest percentage of GHG emissions (85.5%)
methane emissions made up 6.6%
nitrous oxide contributed 5.5%
other GHG emissions made up 2.4%
Many factors have contributed to changes in total GHG emissions in recent years.
Between 2007 and 2008 GHG emissions declined 1.5% to 708.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent
The economic downturn then contributed to an 8.1% fall between 2008 and 2009 to 651.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent
The post-downturn recovery and cold weather between 2009 and 2010 contributed to a 3.0% increase to 671.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent
The 5.4% decline between 2010 and 2011 was partly driven by a reduction in GHG emissions from combustion3. In particular, emissions from natural gas combustion declined. A similar reduction in energy consumption was seen.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions declined 6.0% between 2010 and 2011 to 543.0 million tonnes. Between 1990 and 2011 there was a 13.3% fall.
Coal combustion has fallen since 1990 in favour of natural gas combustion
Emissions from natural gas combustion have increased overall since 1990, but have shown a general downward trend since 2004
Between 2010 and 2011, emissions from natural gas combustion declined to the lowest level since 1995
In terms of industry CO2 emissions:
CO2 emissions from the manufacturing sector declined 30.4% between 1990 and 2011. This was largely due to reductions in emissions from blast furnace gas
Transport & communication sector CO2 emissions increased 39.7% between 1990 and 2011.This was mainly due to increases in emissions from aviation
Methane (CH4) emissions fell 2.2% between 2010 and 2011 to 41.7 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent
Decreases in emissions between 2010 and 2011 in wholesale & retail trade (by 15.3%), accommodation & food services (11.2%) and consumer expenditure (by 9.5%), were all mainly due to reductions in emissions from natural gas
Decreases in emissions from petrol cars in 2011 resulted in CH4 reductions in several industries, including wholesale & retail trade
Between 1990 and 2011 reductions in emissions from petrol cars resulted in large declines in CH4 emissions in wholesale & retail trade (falling 81.2%) and real estate activities (76.4%)
Electricity, water & waste sector CH4 emissions fell 63.0% between 1990 and 2011 due to reductions in emissions from landfill
Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions in 2011 were 34.7 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, falling 2.9% compared with 2010.
The majority of the fall between 2010 and 2011 was due to decreases in emissions from nitric acid production4 in the manufacturing sector (where N2O emissions fell 55.9%)
This, combined with decreased emissions from adipic acid production, also resulted in a 96.6% reduction in emissions in the manufacturing sector between 1990 and 2011
A decline in petrol car emissions also resulted in a 43.0% fall in consumer expenditure N2O emissions between 1990 and 2011
Detailed GHG emissions data are available here: 'Greenhouse Gas Emissions' (204.5 Kb Excel sheet)
Acid rain precursor emissions
Acid rain precursor5 (ARP) emissions, excluding the natural world, fell 2.9% between 2010 and 2011 to 2101.0 thousand tonnes of sulphur dioxide equivalent6. Since 1990, ARP emissions have fallen 69.6%.
Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions fell by 8.3% between 2010 and 2011, and by 86.7% since 1990.
The decline between 2010 and 2011 was mostly due to an 11.8% fall in the transport & communication sector. This was following a decrease in emissions from fuel oil use in international shipping in this sector
Long-term reductions in SO2 emissions are partly due to the decline in coal combustion since 1990
Improvements in combustion and filtration techniques have also reduced petrol and diesel SO2 emissions
Between 2010 and 2011 there was a 2.2% fall in Nitrogen oxides (NOX) emissions. NOX emissions have fallen 54.5% since 1990.
Reductions in emissions from petrol cars have contributed to the decline in NOX emissions in many sectors since 1990
As with SO2, the decline in coal combustion since 1990 also had an impact
Ammonia (NH3) emissions have been increasing since 2008. Between 2010 and 2011 they increased by 1.6% to 544.1 thousand tonnes of sulphur dioxide equivalent.
Increases are largely due to rising emissions in the electricity, water & waste industry
However, 2011 levels are still 18.1% below the 1990 emissions. This has been driven by falls in emissions from manufacturing of ammonia based fertiliser
Detailed ARP emissions data are available here: 'ARP Emissions' (199 Kb Excel sheet) .
Heavy metal pollutants
Emissions from a number of heavy metal pollutants7 can also affect air quality.
Lead emissions have fallen 97.9% between 1990 and 2011 from 2,897.9 tonnes to 61.5 tonnes. Similar reductions were reported in all industries
The decline is mostly due to the reduction in use of leaded petrol, which was banned within the EU from 2000
Detailed heavy metal pollutant emissions data are available here: 'HeavyMetals' (235.5 Kb Excel sheet) .
Of other pollutants affecting air quality8 (excluding the natural world), between 2010 and 2011 emissions of Carbon monoxide (CO) fell 4.1% to 2,199.9 thousand tonnes. Emissions of Non-methane volatile organic compound (NMVOC) declined 2.1% to 837.6 thousand tonnes.
Since 1990 CO has fallen 76.0% and NMVOC 69.9%.
This is mostly due to reductions in road transport emissions which fell 88.4% for CO and 95.3% for NMVOC
This is due to switching from petrol to diesel cars, with petrol engines emitting more CO and NMVOC than diesel engines
Particulate matter (PM) is airborne particulate matter9. PM10 emissions (excluding the natural world) remained static between 2010 and 2011 at 147.0 thousand tonnes. PM2.5 increased 0.1% to 99.6 thousand tonnes. Emissions of both pollutants have declined since 1990. PM10 fell 51.4% and PM2.5 45.4%.
Residential and industrial coal combustion had been a major source of PM emissions in the UK
The Clean Air Act 1993 restricted coal combustion. This accounts for the reductions in emissions from consumer expenditure and many industries
Detailed other pollutant emissions data are available here: 'Other pollutants' (252 Kb Excel sheet) .
Road transport emissions
It is also possible to examine emissions that occur specifically from road transport.
Road transport emissions accounted for 17.8% of total GHG emissions in 2011.
CO2 emissions are by far the largest fraction of GHG road transport pollution (contributing 99.2% in 2011)
Between 2010 and 2011, CO2 road transport emissions fell 1.6% to 112.3 million tonnes
Road transport GHG emissions followed an upward trend between 1990 and 2007, and a downward trend since 2007. This partly reflects the economic downturn between 2008 and 2009 as well as more energy efficient vehicles among other factors
There have been notable reductions in PM road transport emissions over the years. PM emissions can be caused by diesel engine vehicles10.
Since 1992, diesel vehicles have had to meet tighter PM emission regulations. This has led to a reduction in diesel and therefore PM emissions
Road transport PM10 emissions have fallen 32.0% and PM2.5 39.9% since 1990
Reductions in PM emissions have been achieved despite diesel vehicle use increasing
Detailed road transport emissions data are available here: 'Road transport emissions' (15.3 Kb Excel sheet) .
Reconciling environmental accounts with UNECE and UNFCCC estimates
Environmental Accounts estimates follow the UN System of Environmental Economic Accounts (SEEA) framework which is an internationally agreed standard11. UK Environmental Accounts estimates are:
Reported on a UK residence basis
This means they include emissions by UK companies and households abroad and excludes emissions by foreign residents in the UK
For the UK submissions to the Kyoto protocol12 of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP)13.
Estimates are reported on a territory basis
This means they exclude emissions by UK residents and companies abroad, but include emissions in the UK by foreign residents
A bridging table has been compiled to illustrate the differences: 'Emissions bridging' (107.4 Kb Excel sheet) .
Notes for Atmospheric emissions
Atmospheric emissions from Greenhouse gases can contribute to global warming. Greenhouse Gases include Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydro-fluorocarbons (HFC) , Perfluorocarbons (PFC) and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)
The potential of each Greenhouse Gas (GHG) to cause global warming is assessed in relation to a given weight of carbon dioxide. Consequently, all GHG emissions are measured as carbon dioxide equivalents
This includes emissions from industrial combustion and also from the direct combustion of fuel for heating or cooking
N2O is generated as a by-product during the production of adipic and nitric acid
Acidifying pollutants that can react with water in the atmosphere to cause Acid rain are classified as Acid rain precursors. These include Ammonia (NH3), Nitrogen oxide (NOX) and Sulphur dioxide (SO2). Acid Rain can cause damage to buildings, in addition to forests, soils and fresh water
ARP emissions are presented as sulphur dioxide equivalent units to enable a comparison of the pollutants
Heavy metal pollutants, atmospheric emissions of which can damage health, include Lead, Mercury, Cadmium and Chromium
A number of other pollutants can adversely affect air quality, including Particulate matter less than 10 and 2.5 micrometres (PM10 and PM2.5), Carbon monoxide (CO) and Non-methane volatile organic compound (NMVOC)
PM10 is the fraction of suspended particulates that is thought most likely to be deposited in the lungs. The number refers to the mass of PM that is less than around 10 micron diameter
Diesel engine vehicles emit a greater mass of PM per vehicle kilometre than petrol engine vehicles
For more information see http://unstats.un.org/unsd/envaccounting/seea.asp
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which sets internationally binding emissions reduction targets. See http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/items/2830.php for more information
For more information on LRTAP see http://www.unece.org/env/lrtap/
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity1 measures the level of GHG emissions per unit of economic output. It can be used to examine the relationship between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions, a measure of sustainability.
Between 2010 and 2011 GHG emissions intensity fell by 5.0% to 0.38 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent per £ million value added2.
GHG emissions intensity has been following a downward trend since the series began in 1997, declining by 38.7%. Over the period as a whole, although for the most part GVA increased, GHG emissions declined, which led to falls in emissions intensity.
GHG emissions intensity in 2011 was greatest in agriculture, forestry & fishing and electricity, water & waste sectors. This may suggest growth in these industries is the least sustainable in terms of GHG air emission generation.
Between 2010 and 2011, GHG emissions intensity increased by 2.0% in the agriculture, forestry & fishing sector to 7.0 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent per £ million value added
Since 1997, GHG emissions intensity in the agriculture, forestry & fishing industry declined 19.6%
Intensity declined by 6.4% in the electricity, water & waste industry between 2010 and 2011 to 5.2 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent per £ million value added
Since 1997, electricity, water & waste sector GHG emissions intensity declined by 23.3%
GHG emissions intensity in the mining & quarrying industry increased between 1997 and 2011.
Between 2010 and 2011 intensity increased by 7.5% to 0.9 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent per £ million value added
Intensity has increased by 14.7% since 1997
GHG emissions intensity has declined in the manufacturing and transport & communication industries between 1997 and 2011.
Between 1997 and 2011, GHG emissions intensity declined by 38.6% in the manufacturing sector to 0.7 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent per £ million value added
In the transport & communication industry, emissions intensity declined 30.5% to 0.7 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalent per £ million added
GHG emissions intensity data are available here: 'GHG Emissions Intensity' (32.5 Kb Excel sheet) .
Notes for Greenhouse gas emissions intensity
Greenhouse gas emissions intensity is calculated by dividing the level of greenhouse gas emissions by constant price Gross Value Added (GVA). This is the difference between output and intermediate consumption for any given sector/industry. That is the difference between the value of goods and services produced (the output) and the cost of raw materials and other inputs which are used up in production (the intermediate consumption). Data are in constant prices with 2009 defined as the base year. All emissions intensity figures exclude consumer expenditure
As GHG emissions declined and GVA increased
The Material flows account presents a number of indicators to describe the amount of materials that are available and used in an economy.
Direct Material Input (DMI)1 , which measures the amount of materials available to the UK economy, was reported as 706.7 million tonnes in 2011. This represents a 0.4% decline since 2010.
Since 2009, DMI has been fairly stable
Between 2008 and 2009 DMI fell 11.6% to 709.3 million tonnes
Individual components of the DMI indicator have fluctuated
Domestic extraction, a component of DMI, fell 4.1% between 2010 and 2011 to 428.4 million tonnes. This is mainly due to a reduction in domestic extraction of fossil fuels
- Between 2010 and 2011 domestic extraction of fossil fuels fell 16.6% to 115.6 million tonnes. This is the lowest level since the series began in 1990
Domestic extraction of fossil fuels has been declining since 1999. Between 1999 and 2011 fossil fuel domestic extraction has fallen 57.7%
Domestic extraction of coal has gradually fallen between 1991 and 2011. The lowest level was reported in 2007 at 17.0 million tonnes.
In 1991, 96.2 million tonnes of coal was domestically extracted (accounting for 42.1% of total fossil fuel domestic extraction)
In 2011, 18.3 million tonnes of coal was domestically extracted (accounting for 15.9% of total fossil fuel domestic extraction)
Domestic extraction of natural gas gradually increased from 1989, peaked in 2000, and has since declined.
In 1989, 38.5 million tonnes of natural gas was domestically extracted
Natural gas domestic extraction then peaked in 2000 at 108.4 million tonnes
Between 2000 and 2011 domestic extraction of natural gas fell 58.2% to 45.3 million tonnes
Domestic extraction of crude oil gradually increased from 1993, peaked in 1999, and has since declined.
In 1993, 100.2 million tonnes of crude oil was domestically extracted
Crude oil domestic extraction peaked at 137.1 million tonnes in 1999
Between 1999 and 2011 domestic extraction of crude oil fell 62.1% to 52.0 million tonnes
Domestic Material Consumption (DMC)2, the quantity of natural resources used by the UK economy, increased by 0.1% between 2010 and 2011 to 544.8 million tonnes.
The increase between 2010 and 2011 was the first rise in DMC since 2004
The fall in DMI but rise in DMC is due to exports falling
DMC falls short of capturing the total mass of raw materials consumed. It only accounts for the mass of final goods imported, not the raw materials used to produce them
Between 2010 and 2011 the different components of DMC changed as follows:
DMC of biomass increased by 2.2% to 131.4 million tonnes
DMC of minerals increased by 1.0% to 217.5 million tonnes
DMC of fossil energy carriers fell 2.6% to 185.9 million tonnes
Total Material Requirement (TMR)3 provides a wider measure of the economy’s material needs by accounting for some of the indirect flows4. In the first rise since 2006, TMR increased by 5.5% between 2010 and 2011 to 1,730.5 million tonnes.
The main driver of the increase in TMR is the 19.7% increase in indirect flows associated with imports of raw materials and semi-natural products, which rose to 525.6 million tonnes
The 2011 TMR is slightly less than the TMR in 2009 of 1,735.1 million tonnes
TMR had declined to a record low of 1,639.5 million tonnes in 2010
Between 2010 and 2011 the UK economy Physical Trade Balance 5 increased by 19.5% to 116.0 million tonnes. This means the material imported exceeded the material exported.
The increase between 2010 and 2011 was the first since 2007
This was due to imported material increasing at a faster rate than exported material
The balance is still below the 2007 peak of 122.4 million tonnes
1983 was the only year when the UK exported more material than it imported
Total imports increased by 6.0% between 2010 and 2011 to 277.9 million tonnes.
The increase was largely due to a 9.8% rise in fossil fuel imports which increased to 162.5 million tonnes
Fossil fuel imports in 2011 were at their highest level since the series began
Total imports reached a peak of 292.9 million tonnes in 2007
Between 2008 and 2009 material imports declined by 9.6% to 251.1 million tonnes, likely due to the recession
Total exports declined by 2.0% between 2010 and 2011 to 161.9 million tonnes.
The fall was mainly due to a 3.6% decline in fossil fuel exports which fell to 92.2 million tonnes
This is consistent with the fall in domestic extraction and increase in imports of fossil fuels
Mineral exports increased by 3.2% between 2010 and 2011 to 40.7 million tonnes
Detailed Material Flows account data are available here: ‘Material Flow Account' (27.1 Kb Excel sheet)
Experimental estimates of resource use using raw material equivalents
Experimental estimates6 of Raw Material Consumption (RMC)7 , which account for the raw materials used to produce the mass of final goods imported, are presented.
Between 2010 and 2011, RMC increased by 5.3% to 436.1 million tonnes.
RMC rose 8.5% between 2009 and 2011 from an 11 year low in 2009 of 402.1 million tonnes
DMC (excluding fossil fuels) increased at a slower rate than RMC, rising 0.3% between 2009 and 2011
All components of RMC increased between 2010 and 2011.
The largest percentage increase was for RMC of minerals, which increased by 17.6% to 96.3 million tonnes
RMC of construction materials increased by 2.5% to 197.5 million tonnes
RMC of biomass increased by 1.9% to 142.2 million tonnes
More Raw Material Consumption data are available here: 'Raw Material Consumption' (11.7 Kb Excel sheet) .
Notes for Material flows
DMI is calculated by summing total domestic extraction used and Imports
DMC is calculated by subtracting exports from DMI
TMR is calculated by adding indirect flows, both imports and unused domestic extraction, to DMI
Indirect flows are the excess material associated with the extraction of materials within the UK, and also with the extraction of some of the raw and semi-natural products imported into the UK
The Physical Trade Balance is calculated imports minus exports. A positive physical trade balance indicates a net import of material into the UK. This calculation of the Physical Trade Balance differs from the National Accounts formula (exports – imports) because flows of materials and products are considered the inverse of the flows of money recorded in the National Accounts
Experimental statistics are now official statistics undergoing evaulation. They are published in order to involve users and stakeholders in their development and as a means to build in quality at an early stage
RMC estimates were first presented in Experimental Estimates of UK Resource Use using Raw Material Equivalents. The current raw material consumption estimates do not include fossil fuels or energy carriers. Estimates will be published annually in the UK Environmental Accounts to compliment DMC whilst methodology is improved
An environmental tax is defined as a tax on a physical unit (for example petrol or passenger flight) that has a proven, negative impact on the environment.
In 2012, the UK government received £44.5 billion from environmental taxes, £0.2 billion higher than in 2011. This is equivalent to 2.9% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in current prices.
The increase in environmental tax receipts in 2012 was driven by an increase in other environmental taxes (including Air passenger duty and rail franchise premia) and road vehicle taxes.
Other environmental tax revenue increased by 8.5% to £5.4 billion
Road vehicle tax revenue increased by 0.9% to £5.9 billion
These increases were partly offset by a 0.9% reduction in energy tax receipts, which fell to £33.2 billion
Environmental tax receipts accounted for 8.1% of revenue from total taxes and social contributions in 2012 and 2011, down from 8.3% in 2010.
Tax revenue from energy in 2012 was £33.2 billion. Compared with 2011, this represents a £0.3 billion decrease (0.9%), with the main reduction recorded in hydrocarbon oil duty. An increase of 1.8% in energy tax revenue was reported between 2010 and 2011.
In 2012, revenue from hydrocarbon oil decreased by £0.2 billion to £26.7 billion. However, duty on hydrocarbon oil remains the highest contributor to total environmental tax receipts. In 2012, 60.0% of total environmental tax revenue was from this tax. Compared with 2011, of receipts from duty on hydrocarbon oil:
Receipts from petrol decreased by 5.3% to £10.1 billion. This was mainly driven by a reduction in fuel duty rates, as well as a decrease in demand for petrol
Receipts from diesel increased by 2.2% to £14.7 billion, due to an increase in demand on diesel, partly offset by a fall in fuel duty rate
Receipts from total energy taxes were equivalent to 2.2% of GDP in 2012. They therefore contributed the most to environmental tax revenue (which were equivalent to 2.9% of GDP).
Tax revenue from road vehicles was reported at £5.9 billion in 2012, the highest on record since the series began in 1993. Road vehicle tax revenue has shown an upward trend between 1993 and 2012, with the exception of 2000 where it fell by £0.3 billion (5.5%) and 2001 where it fell by £0.5 billion (10.9%).
Tax revenue from road vehicles were equivalent to 0.38% of GDP in 2012.
Other environmental taxes
Receipts from other environmental taxes have risen from £8.0 million in 1993 to £5.4 billion in 2012, showing an increase of £0.4 billion in 2012 from 2011.
This was mainly driven by a 30.2% increase in Rail franchise premia revenue, which rose to £1.3 billion in 2012
Air passenger duty revenue increased 6.2% to £2.8 billion
Receipts from other environmental taxes were equivalent to 0.35% of GDP.
More data on Environmental taxes are available here: ‘Environmental taxes’ (36 Kb Excel sheet)Back to table of contents
Environmental protection expenditure (EPE) is defined as spending on installations and processes which are environmentally beneficial1.
EPE accounts comprise of two different sections;
General government EPE
EPE by industry
General government protection expenditure
The UK government spent £12.9 billion on environmental protection in 2011. This was a decrease of £ 0.5 billion from £13.3 billion in 2010. Specifically, compared to 2010, expenditure on:
Research & development, education & administration activities decreased by £51.0 million to £364.0 million
Other abatement activities fell by £0.1 billion to £1.7 billion
Protection of biodiversity & landscape fell by £67.0 million to £493.0 million
Waste water management decreased by £6.0 million to £11.0 million
Pollution abatement fell by £262.0 million (51.3%) to £249.0 million (following a 74.4% rise between 2009 and 2010)
These reductions were partly offset by expenditure on waste management increasing by £27.0 million, to £10.0 billion.
General government expenditure on EPE has shown an overall upward trend between 1996, when the series began and 2011, rising by £9.5 billion.
The sharp increase in waste recorded in 2005, was due to the decommissioning of British Nuclear Fuels
This decommissioning event was a singular occurrence
Waste management has remained the largest expenditure in public sector EPE since 1996. In 2011, waste management accounted for 78.0% of total General government EPE
The equivalent of EPE towards Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has declined each year since 2009. In 2011 there was the equivalent proportion of 0.85% to GDP in current prices, the same as in 2007. This is compared with GDP equivalent of 0.91% in 2010 and 0.94% in 2009.
Environmental protection expenditure by industry
In 20102, the total Environmental Protection Expenditure (EPE) by industry was estimated as £2.9 billion3.
Most of the EPE was created by:
Other industries, electricity, gas & water, and food, beverages & tobacco products
These accounted for 30.3%, 24.0% and 16.4% respectively of total EPE in 2010
EPE can be divided into three categories: Operational expenditure (OPEX), Capital expenditure (CAPEX) and Research & development (R&D).
OPEX accounted for 70.3% of the total environmental expenditure in 2010. The largest contributors to operational expenditure were:
Other industries which accounted for 28.1%
Food, beverages & tobacco products which accounted for 20.3%
Electricity, gas & water which contributed 15.2%
CAPEX accounted for 23.4% of the total environmental expenditure in 2010. The largest contributors were:
Electricity, gas & water, which accounted for 56.8% of total capital expenditure
Other industries, which contributed 21.4%
Food, beverages & tobacco products which accounted for 8.4%
R&D accounted for 6.3 % of the total environmental expenditure in 2010. The largest contributors were:
Other industries, which accounted for 87.5%
Chemicals & pharmaceuticals which contributed 4.9%
Detailed data on EPE by industry are available here: ‘Environmental Protection Expenditure in Specific Industries' (37.8 Kb Excel sheet)
Notes for Environmental Protection Expenditure (EPE)
United Nations System of Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA) defines EPE as expenditures whose primary purpose is the prevention, reduction and elimination of pollution and other forms of degradation of the environment
DEFRA have recently released EPE by industry data for 2011: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/200979/EPE_2011_statistics_release_final.pdf. This data was unavailable when UK Environmental Accounts were compiled
Environmental protection expenditure by industry statistics are not National Statistics. Comparisons with earlier years should be treated with caution due to changes in the methodology
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