All Standard Notes
68 Documents
27.03.2015Greenhouse gas emissions: Social Indicators page
UK greenhouse gas emissions provisionally fell by 8% in 2014 and were 36% below their 1990 level. UK emissions in the 2008-12 period were within targets set domestically and under the Kyoto Protocol
10.03.2015Sources of Statistics: Environment
This introductory guide provides sources of statistics on the environment.
05.02.2015Shale gas and fracking
The regulatory regime for fracking in the UK is covered in this note along with comment on environmental concerns. It also covers the new access provisions and debate on fracking in during the Infrastructure Bill's passage through Parliament.
23.01.2015Infrastructure Bill: Energy and Climate Change measures
The Infrastrucutre Bill 2014-15 provides a number of new powers and regualtions that relate to energy and climate change. The note provides information on some of these for the Commons Report stage debate.
13.11.2014Cold Weather Payments for winter 2014/2015
Cold Weather Payments are made from the Social Fund to certain recipients of Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit during periods of very cold weather. The amount is 25 a week for eligible benefit claimants.
11.09.2014Smart meters
Between now and 2020 more than 50 million new 'smart meters' will be rolled out to 30 million homes and smaller businesses in Britain. These are intended to allow consumers to see and adjust in real time what energy they are using. The Public Accounts Committee considers the challenges associated with roll-out 'huge'.
24.07.2014Energy Storage R&D
There is a widely held view that electricity storage has a role to play in the future of energy, helping to integrate increasing levels of renewable generation into the UK generation mix
23.07.2014Carbon capture and storage
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) generation is not yet proven on a large scale, and nor is storage long-term, despite a series of UK Government and EU initiatives aimed at incentivising its development. In March 2013 Peterhead (Aberdeenshire) and the White Rose Project (Yorkshire) were named as the two preferred bidders in the latest UK CCS Commercialisation Programme Competition.
24.06.2014Green Investment Bank
The Government has announced the creation of a Green Investment Bank to stimulate investment in green technologie. This note includes details of its role and its location.
14.05.2014Carbon Price Floor
Details of the Carbon Floor Price and the Governemnts annoucnemnt to freeze prices until 2020
06.03.2014ECO, the Energy Company Obligation
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) provides funding to improve energy efficiency in difficult to treat housing and the homes of 'those most in need'. This note explains this Government policy.
06.02.2014The Green Deal
The Green Deal went 'fully live' on 28 January 2013 in England and Wales and on 25 February 2013 in Scotland. This note explains the Government's policy.
31.01.2014Energy prices
The price of domestic gas and electricity has generally increased over the past eight years after around a decade of falling prices. The cost of heating oil has increased by a larger amount. There have been some price cuts over the past few years, but these have been smaller than the price rises. Last winter all of the big six energy suppliers increased gas and electricity prices by between 6% and 11%. So far this autumn only SSE has announced a price increase (8%) which will be implemented in mid-November. Domestic prices have ratcheted up as higher operating, network and environmental costs and higher supplier margins have magnified the impact of longer term increases in wholesale costs. In the medium to long term the pressures on price all appear to be upwards and the only way for most consumers to reduce the impact of increased unit costs, and even to reduce their bills, is through energy efficiency improvements.
29.01.2014Petrol and diesel prices
Road fuel prices have increased steadily since their recent lows in early 2009. Petrol prices reached a record monthly high in May 2010, set new records in December 2010 and in each of the following five months and broke these again in March and April 2012. Since then petrol prices have been in the 131-139 pence per litre range. Diesel prices exceeded their summer 2008 highs in January 2011 and also set new highs in each of the next four months. New records were set in February, March and April 2012. Prices fell by 10 11 pence per litre over summer 2012 and have been in the 138-145 pence per litre range since then.
29.01.2014Oil Prices
Oil prices peaked at almost $150 Dollars a barrel in July 2008 and fell sharply in the second half of 2008 as the global financial crisis hit. Prices have increased since then, despite a fairly weak global economy. Political unrest across the Middle East and the revolt in Libya contributed to further price rises in early 2011. Subsequent prices in 2011 and 2012 have been volatile; falling amid concerns about the world economy and going up as tension between Iran and the West increases. Prices were less volatile in 2013 but the average was close to the near record levels seen in the previous two years. Some commentators have said that quantitative easing has contributed to the underlying price increases. Sustained high prices in 2011 meant the annual average price was above that seen in 2008 and the highest since 1864. The latest spot price is around $107 per barrel. This is $43 below the peak, but the weaker pound has meant that in early 2012 and early 2013 Sterling prices have approached or exceeded their 2008 peak. The International Energy Agency's business as usual projections put the price of oil at almost $250 per barrel in 2035.
27.01.2014Components of an energy bill
The latest round of energy price rises has brought increasing focus on the different elements that make up a domestic energy bill and particularly which are responsible for these price rises. This note describes the different component parts of a domestic energy bill and summarises existing estimates of the contribution of each part to current bills and contributions to past bill increases.
10.12.2013Help with energy bills
This note points towards sources of financial and practical help for constituents with domestic energy bills. It links to sources for more information. It also outlines policy developments and political commitments in this area.
02.12.2013Domestic gas and electricity prices: Social Indicators page
Depiction of trends in the retail prices of gas and electricity since privatisation.
11.11.2013Cold Weather Payments for winter 2013/2014
Cold Weather Payments are made from the Social Fund to certain recipients of Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit during periods of very cold weather.
01.11.2013Winter Fuel Payments update
The Winter Fuel Payment is a tax-free annual payment to help older people meet the cost of their winter fuel bills. The 'standard' rates are 200 per eligible household where the oldest person is under 80, and 300 for households containing a person aged 80 or over.
24.10.2013Nuclear power
On 21 October the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change announced that agreement had been reached with EDF to build the UK's first new nuclear power station since Sizewell B was commissioned in 1995.
09.09.2013Nuclear energy statistics
The UK had the first civilian nuclear power station in the world and increased its nuclear output for most of the latter half of the twentieth century. The last nuclear power station to be built in the UK started operating in 1995. Since then output has fallen as some older power stations have been decommissioned. The UK now has among the lowest share of generation from nuclear of all countries with nuclear power. Some aging nuclear power stations have had their operating life extended, but the majority are due to close over the next decade. No new nuclear capacity is due to come online until around 2020. One consequence of being a pioneer of civil nuclear power is large ongoing financial liability for decommissioning old power stations and managing nuclear waste.
04.09.2013Energy Use: Social Indicators page
Trends in sources of UK energy and generation
30.08.2013Energy imports and exports
After spending most of the previous 25 years as a net exporter of energy the UK became a net importer in 2004. The gap between imports and exports has increased since 2004 and this looks set to continue to increase in the future. This, alongside higher fuel prices and increased concern over the security of energy supply has increased the attention on energy imports and exports.
22.08.2013Warm Front Scheme
The Warm Front scheme in England was a programme designed to help vulnerable households, including those in fuel poverty, to benefit from energy efficiency improvements such as home heating and loft insulation measures. It has now been replaced by the Green Deal.
16.08.2013Community Energy Savings Programme (CESP)
The Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) is a three-year obligation on major energy suppliers and generators to offer free or low cost energy efficiency measures to communities in certain low income areas. It ran from 1 September 2009 to December 2012.
15.08.2013Simplifying Energy Tariffs
The energy regulator Ofgem has finalised its proposals for simplifying energy tariffs, while retaining competition in the GB energy supply market. The Government is also taking 'backstop' powers in the current Energy Bill on tariffs.
14.08.2013Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT)
The Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) placed a five year obligation on gas and electricity suppliers to reduce carbon emissions in the household sector through energy efficiency improvements. It ran from April 2008 - December 2012.
24.06.2013Thorium energy
Thorium is an element which, with the right technology, can be used as a fuel for nuclear power. It is claimed to have a range of advantages over uranium including greater abundance, lower radiotoxicity waste, safer operation and weapons proliferation resistance - although some of these are disputed.
30.05.2013Energy Bill 2013 - update for Report stage
The current Energy Bill now has its Report Stage scheduled, for 3 June 2013. This note provides an update to some of the more controversial areas, and to previous Library research briefings on the Bill.
12.04.2013Heating oil and other off-gas grid heating
This note sets out the regulation of the off-gas grid energy market, and possible sources of support for those who live off the gas grid and have to rely on other fuels such as heating oil or LPG to heat their homes.
This note summarises policy on biomass generation
16.11.2012EU bibliographies: Proposed energy efficiency directive
14.11.2012British Summer Time and the Daylight Saving Bill 2010-11
This Standard Note provides an overview of the pros and cons of British Summer Time and the altering of clocks, as well as details of attempts to change clock times in the UK. It discusses the current Daylight Savings Bill 2010-11.
29.10.2012Underground power lines and health
Power lines give rise to electric and magnetic fields which fall off with distance. Burying power lines underground effectively shields the electric fields but less so the magnetic.
19.10.2012Road fuel prices and taxes across the EU: Social Indicators article
Looks at trends in petrol and diesel prices in the UK and the rest of the EU.
09.10.2012Energy complaints and the Energy Ombudsman
This short note outlines complaints routes against energy companies.
20.09.2012Deepwater and Arctic oil drilling
This note outlines several examples of how previously inaccessible sources of hydrocarbons are now starting to be exploited, the regulatory regimes that surround this and the increasing controversy over drilling in the Arctic.
09.08.2012Feed-in Tariffs
Feed-in Tariffs are available as an incentive for small-scale renewables. Generators are paid a tariff for the lifetime of the scheme.
09.08.2012The Renewables Obligation
An overview of the Renewables Obligation which provides financial support for large scale renewable electricity.
18.07.2012Antarctica: the treaty system and territorial claims
The unique treaty system that protects the Antarctic is constantly updated and sometimes challenged. A current Private Member's Bill would implement recent changes in the UK.
23.05.2012The draft Energy Bill 2012
The 2012 Queen's Speech announced that "My Government will propose reform of the electricity market to deliver secure, clean and affordable electricity and ensure prices are fair'. This will be done through the latest in a line of Energy Bills, published in draft for pre-legislative scrutiny on 22 May 2012.
21.05.2012The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is a mandatory carbon emissions reporting and trading scheme for large public and private sector organisations. It is currently under review and if it cannot be simplified to produce 'very significant administrative savings' for businesses, then it will be replaced by 'an alternative environmental tax' on which the Government will consult in Autumn 2012.
15.05.2012Renewable Heat Incentive
Details of the scheme introduced to support renewable heat generation
17.04.2012The 'conservatory tax'
Changes to the building regulations are currently being consulted upon. These have led to press reports of a 'conservatory tax' of up to 10% on certain home improvements, through required associated energy efficiency measures. Reports have also said that people will be forced to take out green deal loans if they cannot afford to fund these improvements.
05.04.2012Feed-in Tariffs: Solar PV Review
This note summarises details of Solar PV feed-in tariffs, including the various reviews of tariffs for solar, the latest consultation published in February 2012, and the Government's defeat in the courts.
03.02.2012The Warm Home Discount Scheme
The Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme runs from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2015 and offers a rebate on electricity bills, of 120 this year, rising to 140 in year 4. The Government expects around 2 million households to be assisted annually. The funding comes from the participating energy suppliers which they pass on to all consumers through energy bills.
25.11.2011Tar sands
Tar sands (oil sands) have potential to provide a significant fraction of future global oil demand but there are concerns, acknowledged in an EC Fuel Quality Directive, about their environmental impact, not least on greenhouse gas emissions.
25.11.2011Carbon Capture and Storage: additional background
This note (March 2011) examines the policy and issues relating to carbon capture and storage and in particular, how it relates to coal-fired energy generation.
24.10.2011UK Fourth Carbon Budget
The Government has a deadline of 30 June 2011 to set the UK's fourth carbon budget covering 2023-2027.
13.07.2011Energy from waste and incineration
This note looks at the role of energy from waste and incineration.
21.06.2011EU energy policy 2010 and after
This note outlines the development of EU energy policy since the Coalition Government first represented the UK at negotiations.
31.05.2011Offshore oil and gas industry
The UK offshore oil and gas industry is important to the economy. The industry directly supports around 350,000 jobs and also provides around 8 billion annually to the Treasury in taxation. This note provides a summary of the state of the offshore oil and gas industries and sets out some of the key challenges for the industry.
26.04.2011Japanese quake: nuclear power
This note sets out official information from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the nuclear power plants in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami, 11 March 2011, with comments about what is happening and why.
29.07.2010Coalition proposals for an Energy Security and Green Economy Bill
This note sets out the measures in the Bill alongside what was said about these areas in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat election manifestos, the formal coalition Government agreement and the March 2010 Conservative green paper Rebuilding Security: Conservative energy policy for an uncertain world. It also highlights comment on the proposals.
23.06.2010The phasing out of incandescent light bulbs
This note sets out in more detail the phasing out of traditional incandescent light bulbs and the claims that low energy light bulbs are damaging to human health and to the environment.
10.05.2010Boiler scrappage scheme
The Government's boiler scrappage scheme closed to new applicants on 26 March 2010. Some energy companies operate a similar scheme beyond that date, but constituents are advised to obtain quotes from a range of sources, including local independent boiler fitters, to ascertain which provides the best value.
02.03.2010Energy Bill 2009-10: Report Stage and Third Reading
This note summarises the House of Commons Report Stage and Third Reading proceedings of the Energy Bill (HC Bill 7 2009-10).
27.01.2010Turkey's energy politics
Turkey and its relations with its gas-rich neighbouring countries play a predominant role in the future of European energy security. Turkey hopes to use this as leverage in its aspirations to join the European Union. The array of Eurasian gas pipeline projects
25.01.2010Support for domestic energy users
This note sets out financial support available to domestic energy consumers, including grants for central heating, insulation, microgeneration equipment and social security measures. It also explains how to seek advice or information about gas and electricity problems from Consumer Direct and the Energy Ombudsman.
25.01.2010The cold weather
The period of cold weather between 15th December 2009 and 13th January 2010
22.01.2010Cold Weather Payments
Cold Weather Payments. By Steven Kennedy. SN/SP/696.
07.01.2010Sources of historical statistics
Details of online sources of historical statistics across all subject areas other than the economy. These sources are either long-term time series or snapshots of a range of data from a specific point in the past.They allow comparisons between the present day and the start of data collection and any intervening period and give an understanding of patterns -have trends been smooth, random, cyclical etc? Snapshots cover a wider range of data and help us make more general comparisons between 'then' and 'now'. Most of the series go back to around the 1920s or earlier. . This note does not include links to economic data or anything to do with family history.
05.08.2009Biochar and climate change
This note briefly introduces biochar as a measure to tackle climate change.
25.06.2009Greenhouse gas emission statistics
Updated to included final 2007 and provisional 2008 data, carbon budgets and the lastest projections
04.06.2009Pre-payment meters
This note looks at calls for a reduction in the higher costs paid by energy consumers who use pre-payment meter.
26.11.2008The Renewable Energy Strategy
The UK has a provisional EU target for 15% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. This note details the Government's proposals to meet this target.
06.10.2008Energy price rises and their impact on demand
Social Indicators article which looks at price rises across different sectors in recent years, the impact on demand and the implications of this. This subject will be looked at in greater detail in the Library talk on 3 November:
All Research Papers
31 Documents
10.03.2015Sources of Statistics
This briefing paper brings together sources of statistics on 27 subject areas covered by the Economic Policy & Statistics and Social & General Statistics sections of the House of Commons Library. In doing so it draws upon the knowledge of Library specialists, aiming to provide comprehensive topic-by-topic guides for use by anyone interested in the statistical series that underpin the United Kingdom.
04.12.2014Infrastructure Bill [HL]
This is a 'portmanteau' bill, covering a number of separate but related areas.
03.09.2014Social Indicators
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include agriculture, crime, defence, education, elections, environment and energy, health, housing, local government, population and migration, social security and transport.
12.05.2014Deregulation Bill: Committee Stage Report
The Bill proposes a range of measures in line with the Government's aim to reduce regulatory burdens on businesses and public authorities.
30.01.2014Deregulation Bill
The Bill proposes a range of measures in line with the Government's aim to reduce burdens on businesses and public authorities.
16.12.2013Germany's 2013 election: shaping the future?
Where is Germany - the most influential country in Europe - heading, under its new grand coalition government?
12.03.2013Energy Bill: Committee Stage Report
This paper complements Library Research Paper 12/79 on the Energy Bill 2012-13. It covers the Bill's Second Reading and Committee Stages. The Bill seeks to implement electricity market reform and introduces 'contracts for difference' to support all forms of low carbon generation, including nuclear. Government amendments made during Committee Stage related to cheaper energy tariffs and setting a decarbonisation target.
13.12.2012Energy Bill
The Energy Bill [Bill 100 of 2012-13] seeks to implement 'electricity market reform' and through this achieve 'secure, clean and affordable' electricity supplies. The Bill was introduced to the Commons on 29 November 2012 and will have its Second Reading debate on 19 December 2012. A draft Bill was subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.
13.12.2012Growth and Infrastructure Bill: Committee Stage Report
This is a report on the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill. It complements Research Paper 12/61 prepared for Commons Second Reading
01.11.2012Growth and Infrastructure Bill
The Growth and Infrastructure Bill seeks to reduce delays in the planning system and to facilitate new development, through various means. It would allow planning obligations (section 106 agreements) relating to affordable housing to be renegotiated. To promote economic growth, it makes provision for a planned revaluation of business rates in England to be postponed and to create a new employment status of employee owner. Its second reading date has been moved from 30 October to 5 November 2012.
19.10.2012Social Indicators
A compendium of the latest social statistics. This edition includes articles on: UK aviation: airports and capacity; Road fuel prices and taxes across the EU; and a look back at London 2012.
11.01.2012Daylight Saving Bill: Committee Stage Report
This is a report on the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Daylight Saving Bill.
06.09.2011Energy Bill [HL]: Committee Stage Report
This is a report on the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Energy Bill. It complements Library Research Paper 11/36 (Energy Bill) prepared for the Commons Second Reading.
04.05.2011Energy Bill [HL]
This briefing on the Energy Bill has been prepared for the Second Reading Debate in the House of Commons. The flagship policy in the Bill is the 'Green Deal', a scheme whereby homes would be given finance upfront to make energy efficiency improvements, which would then be paid for by energy bill savings. The Bill would also set up a new obligation on energy companies to help certain groups of consumers with saving energy, who need extra support. The Bill also introduces a range of other measures designed to improve energy efficiency; such as facilitating the roll-out of smart meters, widening access to energy performance certificates and making information on energy bills clearer. The Bill also provides measures designed to help improve energy security, to encourage low carbon generation and to grant additional powers to the Coal Authority to charge for certain services.
17.02.2010Energy Bill: Committee Stage Report
This paper summarises the House of Commons Second Reading and Committee Stage proceedings of the Energy Bill. The Bill received its Second Reading on 7 December 2009. It was not amended in Committee. The Bill will introduce an incentive to support up to four carbon capture and storage (CSS) demonstration projects in the UK. CSS is a way of reducing the impact of fossil fuel emissions by capturing carbon dioxide. It will also introduce mandatory support to lower energy bills for the most vulnerable, increase the powers of the industry regulator, Ofgem, and give the Secretary of State the power to ban cross-subsidy between gas and electricity accounts.
03.12.2009Energy Bill. Bill 7 2009-10.
The Bill would introduce: a carbon capture and storage incentive to support the construction of up to four UK demonstration projects, to be chosen in a competition; mandatory social price support to lower energy bills (social tariffs) for the most vulnerable, which would replace the current voluntary agreement which expires in 2011. It would also add ensuring security of supply and protecting consumers to the objectives of the regulator, Ofgem; increase the regulator's powers to deal with exploitation of electricity distribution constraints by generators; and increase Ofgem's power to fine companies. It would give the Secretary of State the power to ban cross-subsidy between gas and electricity accounts.
24.04.2009Russia and the West
A year on from Dmitry Medvedev's succession to the Kremlin, this paper analyses the evolution of Russian foreign policy under both Putin and Medvedev. It seeks to identify the main themes, interests, and objectives of Russian foreign policy, and to appraise the role of President Medvedev in the direction of Russian diplomacy and his relationship with Prime Minister Putin. In so doing, it examines, in detail, Russia's relationship with the United States, NATO, the EU, and the UK and analyses the role of energy in relations between Russia and the West. Finally, it looks ahead at the prospects for the relationship in light of President Obama's declared intention to press the 'reset' button in US-Russian relations.
14.01.2009Social Indicators
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include crime and justice, defence, education, elections, health and population. This edition of Social Indicators includes an article from the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress, Washington , D.C.. This edition includes: Social background of the United States Congress 2009 Local authority finance in a recession 2011 UK Census of Population Underage drinking Excess winter mortality
22.10.2008Climate Change Bill [HL]: Committee Stage Report
Climate Change Bill. (Bill 129 of 2007/08) House of Commons Library Research Paper 08/79.
08.10.2008Social Indicators
This Research Paper summarises a wide range of social statistics. Subjects covered include crime and justice, defence, education, elections, health and population. This edition of Social Indicators includes an article from the Research Service of the Parliament of Australia on the immigration of highly skilled workers. This edition includes articles: - Recent trends in skilled migration to Australia - Energy price rises and their impact on demand - The UK Housing market And topical subject page on - US elections 2008
06.06.2008Climate Change Bill [HL]
(Bill 97 of 2007-08)
23.04.2008Energy Bill: Committee Stage Report
[Bill 79 of 2007-08]
07.03.2008Planning Bill: Committee Stage Report
(Bill 71 of 2007-08)
16.01.2008Energy Bill
Energy Bill. (Bill 53 of 2007-08). House of Commons Library Research Paper 08/05.
06.12.2007Planning Bill
09.05.2007Energy Security
Energy Security. House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/42.
08.10.2004Social indicators
Social indicators. (Includes article on Renewable energy,Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games - facts and figures 1896 to 2004,What are National Statistics? and topical subject pages on oil prices, the 'grey vote' and museum and gallery visitors). House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/74.
06.05.2004Energy Bill (HL) (Bill 93 2003/04)
Energy Bill (HL) (Bill 93 2003/04). House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/36.
06.05.2004Energy Bill (HL) (Bill 93 2003/04);Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (Bill 93 2003/04)
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority: Part 2 of the Energy Bill (HL) (Bill 93 2003/04). House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/37.
26.01.2000Utilities Bill (Bill 49 of 1999/2000)
Utilities Bill (Bill 49 of 1999/2000). House of Commons Library Research Paper 00/7.
02.02.1998Regulated energy utilities
Regulated energy utilities. House of Commons Library Research Paper 98/19.
All Select Committee Reports
9 Select Committee Reports
19.07.2011Ofgem Retail Market Review.
Energy and Climate Change Select Committee report [Commons]
19.07.2011Shale gas.
Government response. Energy and Climate Change Select Committee; Department of Energy and Climate Change report [Commons]
10.05.2011Shale gas.
Energy and Climate Change Select Committee report [Commons]
18.01.2011The revised draft national policy statements on energy.
Energy and Climate Change Select Committee report [Commons]
15.03.2010The sale of the government's interest in British Energy.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
08.10.2009Energy efficiency and fuel poverty.
Government response. Department of Energy and Climate Change report [Commons]
18.05.2009Energy efficiency and fuel poverty.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
03.03.2009Energy policy: future challenges.
Government response. Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform; Business and Enterprise Select Committee report [Commons]
10.12.2008Energy policy: future challenges.
Business and Enterprise Select Committee report [Commons]