Barking and Dagenham most energy efficient local authority in UK

An Imperial College London researcher carried out a study on the energy consumption of all 198 urban local authorities in the UK, including 33 boroughs in London. The researcher has developed a new method that draws on three different measures of energy efficiency, currently used by city planners, to create the ranking. The aim was to find the fairest methodology for determining energy efficiency that could give planners an improved way of spotting best practice, leading to more energy efficient and sustainable policies in the future.

The London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham and Hackney topped the league table of all UK urban areas analysed in the study, which was carried out by Dr James Keirstead from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial. This may be because both are low income areas, equating to lower energy usage. Residents of those areas are also more reliant on public transport and these boroughs lack energy-intensive manufacturing and commerce, which may also be other factors that explain why consumption is lower.

The City of London, Westminster, and Hillingdon are the London boroughs that use the most energy. This is because of the concentration of energy intensive commercial buildings and Government offices  in these areas. Hillingdon is also the home of Heathrow Airport.

Dr Keirstead says:  “It is always interesting to see league tables and figure out who is ranked the highest, but the issue of who scored best or worst should not be seen as the most important element of this study. This is because the results are pretty unsurprising when you start to look at the reasons behind energy consumption. What is more important is that I’ve developed a fairer way to compare cities on a like-for-like basis in terms of energy consumption and this will help city planners to learn from each other and create more sustainable initiatives in the future.”

Outside of London, Gosport in Hampshire is ranked as the most energy efficient city. This is because it has a relatively small population and lacks a local industrial base. Also, twenty five per cent of its population commutes to London for work.

The city of Falkirk in Scotland uses the most energy, which is unsurprising, says Dr Keirstead, because its energy consumption is dominated by a large petrochemical plant on its outskirts, which provides petrol, diesel and other products to customers throughout Scotland, Northern Ireland, and northern England.

Dr Keirstead developed his methodology by amalgamating three techniques commonly used by planners. He averaged the combined results to create the league table. The research was published this month in the journal Energy Policy.

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