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Office for National Statistics: UK environmental accounts: 2016

September 06, 2016 |

Main points:

  • Energy consumption from renewable and waste sources has been increasing since 1990; reaching a record high of 14.4 million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2014. These sources contributed 7.1% of total energy consumption.
  • Emissions of greenhouse gases have decreased since 1990; peaking in 1991 at 845.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent and falling to 608.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2014. This is the lowest level since 1990.
  • The amount of material resources consumed (per person) has decreased by 30.4% between 2000 and 2014, falling from 12.5 tonnes per person to 8.7 tonnes per person.
  • The trend of road transport fuel switching from petrol to diesel continued. Between 2013 and 2014, diesel use increased by 3.3%, whereas petrol use decreased by 2.0%.
  • Since 1997, UK government spend on environmental protection expenditure (EPE) has increased from £4.1 billion to £15.4 billion in 2014, and currently accounts for 1.9% of total government spending.


Environmental accounts show how the environment contributes to the economy (for example, through the extraction of raw materials), the impact that the economy has on the environment (for example, energy consumption and air emissions) and how society responds to environmental issues (for example, through taxation and expenditure on environmental protection).

Environmental accounts are “satellite accounts” to the main National Accounts and they are compiled in accordance with the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA), which closely follows the UN System of National Accounts (SNA). This means that they are comparable with economic indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP).

Environmental accounts are used nationally and internationally, primarily by governments, development organisations and researchers, to inform sustainable development policy, to evaluate the environmental impacts of different sectors of the economy, and to model impacts of fiscal or monetary measures.

Access the accounts here.

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