Sunday, 25 November 2007

UK's worst polluting regions

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) figures reveal the places with the highest emissions per household in the home countries are South Buckinghamshire (England); Orkney Islands (Scotland); Powys (Wales) and County Down (Northern Ireland).

CO2 per household is the lowest in City of London (England); Glasgow (Scotland); Blaenau Gwent (Wales) and Belfast (Northern Ireland).

The results of the survey will be used as a model to target councils and householders at street level and advise them on how to cut their energy use.

The chief executive of the EST, Philip Sellwood, said: "This latest Green Barometer report isn't about singling out local authorities, as each area is unique and has its own challenges and opportunities.

The survey identified 10 different types of family and individuals which it classified according to the amount of energy they used per household, their use of cars and attitudes towards the environment.

The amount of CO2 emissions from individual homes was calculated using energy bills data and then compared with the average for that type of home. Similarly emissions from cars were calculated using car ownership and mileage data and then compared with average use.

Attitudes towards the environment, including concern for environment, recycling, concern about pollution, were compared against average attitudes.

Breakdown of the 10 groups:

1. Environmentally Mature

Rich, affluent couples, living in large detached homes in the suburbs or more rural villages. Big consumers of household and vehicle energy. Well educate people who understood climate change.

2. Comfortable Conservatives

Professional people, comfortable conservatives resistant to change with house and car emissions above average.

3. Discerning Elders

Professional couples on the cusp of retirement. Pride in homes and cars. Large homes and high energy bills and interested in the environment.

4. Ethnic Tradition

Asian families and other ethnic groups living in suburban semi-detached houses or industrial terrace housing. Large, extended families.Limited car ownership and high energy use.

5. Educated Advocates

Mixture of young city centre professionals and educated couples enjoying a city lifestyle. University educated, likely to be sharing a house, transient but moving towards first home purchase. Car ownership low but company cars common. A key target for future.

6. Britain Today, Reflection of 'modern' Britain:

Household and vehicles emissions not high and attitude towards the environment below average. Relatively low potential for reducing CO2 emissions. Mostly suburban couples influenced by middle-market tabloid papers who like makeover shows and gardening programmes.

7. Financially Burdened

Families with high expenditure on everyday living. Stage of life where money is accounted for by mortgage and household bills.

Housing is newer and large, but the demands of a family result in relatively high energy use. Car ownership is average.

8. Environmentally Indifferent

Poorer families and elderly couples living in council or ex-council accommodation in towns and cities. Focus is day-to-day survival and low levels of concern for environment. CO2 emissions and car ownership below average.

9. Driving Dependency

Young sharers or couples living in new houses in private estates, who see the car as the only way to get around.

Cars are a lifeline for work, shopping, or visiting friends and relations. Most households will have two vehicles with one a company vehicle, leading to high mileage. Public transport links in these areas are poor. Current attitudes towards the environment are below average reflecting a 'live for now' attitude. They will become more conscious of surrounding environment and their 'legacy' as they have families. Low household CO2 emissions.

10. Restful Retirement

Elderly couples and widowers who have low energy use. Still living independently or in housing for the elderly.

For those in private housing there is little they can do, or wish to do regarding reducing CO2 emissions. For the independents there is financial motivation to save energy. Car ownership is low relying on public transport or families.
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