It is thought that the unusually warm weather in 2011 has led to a 7% reduction in gas emissions in the UK. It is also thought that there has been a rise in nuclear energy as the Sizewell reactor came back online during the year.

Warmest year

Figures released from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are in stark contrast to those of 2010 which indicated a 3% increase in emissions. It is thought that it was this wake-up call which showed that those policies already in place were not working.

The residential sector was responsible for a large part of 2011′s reductions with households emitting 22% less gas than in the previous year. It is thought that this is largely to do with 2011 being the fifth warmest year on record and with the winter being significantly milder than in previous years.

Price of energy to blame?

In addition the Sizewell reactor, which had been shut down for maintenance in 2010, was brought back online during 2011. This contributed to the 11% increase in nuclear power usage.

Ed Davey, the climate change minister has said that the fall shows that government policies are working. However other experts have questioned whether it is government policy, the weather or the price of energy which is causing people to use less of it.

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