The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions plunged by 8.4% last year, as household energy consumption slumped, the use of coal for electricity generation fell, and policies on climate change took effect, according to government statistics released on Thursday.
Carbon dioxide output fell by almost a tenth, as renewable energy generation rose to a new record high, accounting for nearly a fifth of electricity.
It was the biggest fall in emissions since 1990. Over the last five years, following a sharp fall in 2009, emissions appeared to have reached a plateau, with slight rises in some years owing to increasing coal use. The price of coal has dropped on world markets, as shale gas has sapped demand in the US, leaving a glut.
Green campaigners welcomed the fall, but they warned that more must be done to reach targets.