Stuart O'Brien, Author at Energy Management Summit | Forum Events Ltd
  • Covid-19 – click here for the latest updates from Forum Events & Media Group Ltd

Energy Management Summit | Forum Events Ltd Energy Management Summit | Forum Events Ltd Energy Management Summit | Forum Events Ltd Energy Management Summit | Forum Events Ltd Energy Management Summit | Forum Events Ltd

Posts By :

Stuart O'Brien

Thames Water plans England’s first sewage-powered domestic heating scheme

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Excess heat recovered from the sewage treatment process could be used to power more than 2,000 homes thanks to a new carbon-cutting partnership between Thames Water and Kingston Council.

The ‘poo power’ scheme is the first of its kind in England and has the potential to provide clean, green heating to new homes as part of the regeneration of Kingston’s Cambridge Road Estate. The project is expected to be a model for similar schemes elsewhere in the UK, reducing millions of tonnes of carbon emissions. 

The Government and Greater London Authority have funded feasibility studies and design work for the project over the last two years, and an application has been made to the Government for capital funding. The result will be formally announced in March.

Under the plans, heat recovered from the final effluent of the sewage treatment process at Hogsmill will be captured before water is returned to the river, concentrated and supplied to local buildings from a state-of-the-art energy centre to be built on site*.

If successful, up to seven gigawatt hours of low carbon heat per year could be supplied via a sealed network of pipes to the district heating system at the new Cambridge Road Estate. The aim will then be to expand the network to include public and commercial buildings in Kingston town centre.

Sarah Bentley, Thames Water’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Kingston Council, offering low carbon energy to a new housing development near to our works. Renewable heat from our sewer network is a fantastic resource, so it’s vital we are a leading player in energy transition and unlock the full potential of ‘poo power’.

“Protecting and enhancing the environment is extremely important to us, and we have committed to doing all we can to find new and innovative ways to achieve our net zero ambitions over the next 10 years. We’re already self-generating substantial amounts of renewable energy across our vast estate, meeting around a quarter of our total electricity needs, and are confident innovative district heating schemes like this will offer many more opportunities to ensure we leave our planet in a better place for future generations.”

Cllr Caroline Kerr, leader of Kingston Council, said: “This is ground-breaking. It’s a first for England and shows we are serious about reducing carbon in the borough. This is a real opportunity to be bold and ambitious for future generations. It’s great to be working alongside Thames Water to make waste into clean energy.  

“The regeneration of Kingston’s largest council estate, Cambridge Road Estate, is a fantastic opportunity to make new homes in Kingston among the greenest in the country. We will continue to work alongside a range of partners to make green, sustainable energy a reality for Kingston.”

The renewable heat project at Hogsmill is estimated to save 105 kilo tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (ktCO 2e) emissions over 30 years – the equivalent of 157,000 return flights from London to New York or more than 15,000 car journeys around the world – and is the single largest carbon reduction scheme in Kingston. Future phases of the district heat network are planned to save additional emissions and help Kingston Council achieve its target of being carbon neutral by 2038.

Along with the heat transfer scheme, Thames Water is exploring other green energy projects at its Hogsmill site, which serves 380,000 customers, including solar panels and electric vehicle charging points.

Poo power, together with wind and solar, currently generates around a quarter of the company’s electricity needs, saving around £40 million in energy costs each year. In December, Thames Water produced enough renewable electricity across 24 sewage works to power the equivalent of more than 110,000 homes, 15 per cent more than was being produced three months previously. The company is due to announce its roadmap to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030 later this year.

Global carbon dioxide emissions rebound strongly after Covid dip

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The Covid-19 crisis in 2020 triggered the largest annual drop in global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions since the Second World War, according to IEA data, but the overall decline of about 6% masks wide variations depending on the region and the time of year. 

After hitting a low in April, global emissions rebounded strongly and rose above 2019 levels in December. The latest data show that global emissions were 2%, or 60 million tonnes, higher in December 2020 than they were in the same month a year earlier.

Major economies led the resurgence as a pick-up in economic activity pushed energy demand higher and significant policies measures to boost clean energy were lacking. Many economies are now seeing emissions climbing above pre-crisis levels. 

“The rebound in global carbon emissions toward the end of last year is a stark warning that not enough is being done to accelerate clean energy transitions worldwide. If governments don’t move quickly with the right energy policies, this could put at risk the world’s historic opportunity to make 2019 the definitive peak in global emissions,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director. “In March 2020, the IEA urged governments to put clean energy at the heart of their economic stimulus plans to ensure a sustainable recovery. But our numbers show we are returning to carbon-intensive business-as-usual. This year is pivotal for international climate action – and it began with high hopes – but these latest numbers are a sharp reminder of the immense challenge we face in rapidly transforming the global energy system.”

The 2020 trends underscore the challenge of curbing emissions while ensuring economic growth and energy security. Amid a growing number of pledges by countries and companies to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century, the rebound in emissions shows what is likely to happen if those ambitions are not met with rapid and tangible action.

Emissions in China for the whole of 2020 increased by 0.8%, or 75 million tonnes, from 2019 levels driven by China’s economic recovery over the course of the year. China was the first major economy to emerge from the pandemic and lift restrictions, prompting its economic activity and emissions to rebound from April onward. China was the only major economy that grew in 2020. 

In India, emissions rose above 2019 levels from September as economic activity improved and restrictions were relaxed. In Brazil, the rebound of road transport activity after the April low drove a recovery in oil demand, while increases in gas demand in the later months of 2020 pushed emissions above 2019 levels throughout the final quarter.

Emissions in the United States fell by 10% in 2020. But on a monthly basis, after hitting their lowest levels in the spring, they started to bounce back. In December, US emissions were approaching the level seen in the same month in 2019. This was the result of accelerating economic activity as well as the combination of higher natural gas prices and colder weather favouring an increase in coal use.

“If current expectations for a global economic rebound this year are confirmed – and in the absence of major policy changes in the world’s largest economies – global emissions are likely to increase in 2021,” Dr Birol said. “Nonetheless, there are still reasons for optimism. China has set an ambitious carbon-neutrality target; the new US administration has rejoined the Paris Agreement and is putting climate at the heart of its policy-making; the European Union is pushing ahead with its Green Deal and sustainable recovery plans; India’s stunning success with renewables could transform its energy future; and the United Kingdom is building global momentum toward stronger climate action at COP26 in November.”

Global emissions plunged by almost 2 billion tonnes in 2020, the largest absolute decline in history. Most of this – around 1 billion tonnes, which is more than the annual emissions of Japan – was due to lower use of oil for road transport and aviation. As travel and economic activities pick up around the world, oil consumption and its emissions are rising again. The record increase in sales of electric vehicles is insufficient to offset the growth in emissions caused by the uptick in road traffic around the world.

Global emissions from the electricity sector dropped by 450 million tonnes in 2020. This resulted partly from lower electricity demand but also from increases in electricity generation by solar PV and wind. For the world to achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, notably of limiting global warming to well below 2 °C, a decline in electricity sector emissions of around 500 million tonnes would need to occur every single year. Even greater annual drops in emissions from electricity generation would be required to put the world on a path in line with warming of 1.5 °C.

In order to show a sustainable path forward, the IEA will publish on 18 May the world’s first comprehensive roadmap for the energy sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. As part of its focus on leading clean energy transitions worldwide, the IEA is working with the UK’s COP26 Presidency to bring together heads of government and ministers at the IEA-COP26 Net Zero Summit on 31 March to step up international efforts to turn net zero pledges into concrete energy policies and actions.

In April, the IEA will release its Global Energy Review 2021, which will examine this year’s emerging trends in global energy demand and CO2 emissions.

Finding the Formula to Combat Back-to-Work Anxiety in STEM

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Mental health is a popular topic at the moment, while the majority of us were trying to maintain a healthy routine and lifestyle while stuck indoors, it begged the question, what about after lockdown? Back to work anxiety was bad enough for some of us after months of leisure time and lie ins. But entering the next stage of eased lockdown regulation is a cause of mental health disruption for some of us, bringing a sense of unease, worry, and anxiety.

At first, the thought of losing our freedom and summer plans caused anxiety in itself, but once we got used to our new life it subsided. While some are eagerly anticipating a return to work and normality, others are genuinely distressed by it — whether this is facilitated by concerns of the virus or facing our colleagues, there’s a real issue that needs addressing.

In this article, we’ll take a look at back-to-work anxiety in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) industries, helpful tips to deal with feeling anxious, as well as a question and answer session from the engineering sector and how they’re dealing with returning to work.

What is back-to-work anxiety?

Being away from your job for a period of time can affect your feelings regarding work, whether it’s the workload or challenging colleagues. Some of us have time to mull over our skills and put ourselves down over our abilities, knocking down our confidence. According to research by YouGov, two in five are anxious about returning to work and the threat the virus has to our health and wellbeing.

Back-to-work anxiety can have physical effects such as headaches, stomach issues, trouble sleeping, and behavioural changes like feeling irritable and isolated. If your job was stressful to begin with, it’s likely that returning can be even more difficult. Although anxiety is a normal emotion, there are many self-help methods you can use to manage these feelings. You should always consider seeking medical and therapeutic care if this severely interrupts your days.

STEMming from anxiety

STEM industries have recently been under scrutiny regarding the working environments in these sectors fostering anxiety and depression. For example, a report called “Masculinity in Engineering” noted that more than a fifth of engineers take time off due to their mental health as well as over one in three UK tech professionals claiming they’re worried about their mental health as it has deteriorated during Covid-19 which was previously one in five before the pandemic. The fast-paced and competitive nature of the work can stop workers from switching off.

These industries are traditionally male and white-dominated sectors notorious for a toxic masculine culture which can make people feel isolated. So it isn’t surprising that this, combined with the notion of returning to work after a period of absence from the office or lab, is having a significant impact on STEM workers mental health.

Although it’s difficult to judge how exactly social distancing measures can be implemented across a broad range of sectors from science to mathematics and the different ways that these job roles are carried out, many workers are also nervous about the spread of Covid-19. 

How to handle back to work anxiety

Try to make the transition back to work easier and consider these steps. It’s also helpful to identify the source of your worries to come up with solutions. myGP, a smartphone app for online NHS services including specialist areas like mental health, suggested the following:

Prepare yourself

Getting into the routine of work life can be a daunting feeling, however preparing yourself can make it easier. Whether this is preparing your lunches for your break, or dinners in advance for when you get home late and are too tired to cook, what may seem like minor preparations can actually relieve your mind of things you need to do for yourself. Remember, you and your needs should come first.

If you’ve been spending lockdown not getting out much and waking up late, try to get into a good routine to prepare yourself for when you’ll be on your feet again. Spending time outdoors whether it’s walking through nature or laid out in your garden can help to calm you down and keep you grounded in the present moment.

Speak with your manager and colleagues

Solidarity can be helpful in alleviating feelings of anxiety — try speaking to your colleagues to comfort each other and provide support. Recognising that others feel the same can help you feel like you’re not alone.

If you feel comfortable, it could be worthwhile speaking to your manager about your concerns and throwing yourself back into work life. Employers can be helpful in introducing informal support mechanisms like online resources and volunteers to provide support. They may be able to reduce some of your concerns or make plans to help your return to work.

Find out what will have changed in the workplace. For example, you may find that there will be fewer people in the workplace in order to maintain physical distancing. You could arrange a visit prior to your first day back which might reassure you about the measures that have been put in place to keep you and your colleagues safe. This brings us to our next point.

Seek resources

Lear, an automotive technology leader, created a comprehensive guide of returning to work to ease anxieties workers may have, including protocols, procedures, and rules in place to keep everyone safe, as well as mandatory onsite health screenings in ‘drive-thrus’ of temperature and overt symptoms. 

Many organisations have mental health or counselling resources that you are eligible to use if you are an employee — if not there are lots of useful resources online that provide techniques for reducing anxiety.

Plan fun things to keep your mind busy

Summer might’ve been cancelled by Covid-19 this year, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t plan fun things in the meantime. Meet up with your friends outside abiding government guidelines, go for mind clearing walks and hikes in nature, or, if you have the funds, plan a holiday next year to look forward to! Making fun plans can help tackle the looming feeling of dread when thinking of going back to work.

Avoid unhealthy habits such as reaching for alcohol, cigarettes, or caffeine when you are feeling stressed or anxious.

Words of wisdom…

Research mindfulness and breathing exercises you can practise to improve your mental state. Meditation can be helpful as often when we feel anxious about things, we try to distract ourselves or might spend hours scrolling through our phones to avoid the pressing issue. Writing down your problems to face them can also be extremely helpful, as well as noting down the positives and the parts and people of your job that you enjoy. And remember — try to get a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of water, and eat healthy meals to keep your energy up.

If the feeling of back-to-work anxiety feels serious or you find that you’re not getting any relief, consider getting medical advice from your GP or book an online doctor appointment if you’re concerned. Anxiety is a real condition that can be helped with the right treatment. Don’t ignore how you feel, or this can be even more difficult to cope.

Q&A in the engineering sector

Paul Staines, senior controller in production engineering at Unipres, a global automotive manufacturer, gave insight into how his workplace is handling the transition back to work.

Q: How is your plant planning to facilitate social distancing and safe working?

Paul: When the pandemic seriously impacted the UK and most workers were placed on furlough, we immediately assessed what impact the virus could have on our industry and in our factory in particular. We began to evaluate the risk in every element of the plant. The first noticeable change was the provision of hand sanitiser distributed throughout the plant. Each management team from each department then began to risk assess operations from staff entering the site and carrying out their daily work. On entering the plant, we marked the pavement with two-meter markers on the floor, these markers where put in place as a visual aid to maintain distancing when entering the plant. 

Meeting rooms were carefully measured to see how many people could safely occupy a room and maximum occupancy signage placed in the room. Chairs have been removed to further enforce this measure. For any activity where social distancing could not be maintained, controls were developed such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and back-to-back working for a maximum of 15 minutes. As majority of staff were not at work, a return to work handbook was developed to give guidance to staff on what to expect when returning to work. The handbook covered all changes we implemented and even given guidance on traveling to and from work.

Q: What steps do they have in place to phase in colleagues?

Paul: On the initial return to work all staff received a presentation on the new protocols outlining what is expected of them to mitigate the spread of the virus. Supervisors and team leaders received separate training for enforcing social distancing, how to spot the symptoms, and most importantly what protocol is to be followed if someone were to have symptoms on site. Starting times were staggered to mitigate large gatherings when entering the plant as temperatures of all staff are taken on entering the building. We also staggered the break times to enable staff to maintain social distancing in all restrooms in the plant. Again, each restroom had staff allocated ensuring maximum occupancy was not reached. 

Every single piece of machinery or rest room appliance was risk assessed and a disinfection standard was created so all users were trained to disinfect said machine or frequently touched surface before and after use. The entire plant has been decorated with our Clean IT campaign reminding staff of the new protocols and to assist supervision to observe the standards are being met.

Q: Are there any mental health groups or processes to support those who are anxious about returning to work?

Paul: Unipres offers support through a service provided by an organisation called Talk Works. The mental health service is available to all Unipres UK employees, offering ongoing stress guidance, counselling, and expert advice to employees and staff who are struggling with mental health issues. Talking therapies allow employees to talk about their life or worries to someone who is trained to listen and help. The service is 100% confidential and free, and so far employees who have used the service have found it very beneficial.

CALL FOR SPEAKERS! Would you like to talk at the Energy Management Summit?

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

We’re looking for energy industry thought-leaders to share their knowledge at the upcoming Energy Management Summit event.

If you would like to take part in this unmissable industry event, simply contact Lisa Rose on 01992 374077 /

Alternatively, if you’re an energy management industry professional, make sure you reserve you delegate place at the Energy Management Summit – we have two taking place this year, with both live and virtual attendance options.

The Energy Management Summit is a unique event specifically designed for senior professionals like you within the industry!

4th & 5th October – Radisson Blu Hotel, London Stansted

You can attend this two-day event entirely for FREE.


Is your ‘electricity’ beer glass topped up or have you too much head?

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By OnSite Energy

Whether you like head on your beer or not, if you use the analogy in electricity the “head” is wasted money.  Unlike in a pub (if we ever get back in one !), head in a factory is often not visible.  You are drinking beer and regardless of how much head there is, the company still is picking up the tab.  If you are looking for the next 5%-10% savings then you should find out how much “head” you have

In a factory there are three main sources of “head”:

  • Transformer Losses 
  • Over-Voltage
  • Poor Power Factor

If your factory is supplied at 11kV, the it is metered for the kWh supplied at 11kV.  But the power has to be transformed down to 400-415v for use.  This incurs losses of between 2%-9% of your TOTAL energy consumption.  How much you lose depends on the efficiency of your transformer, and yet very few business know how efficient it is or even monitor it. 

Over Voltage – Most motors are designed to operate at 400v.  If they are supplied with a higher voltage they either work harder or emit the excess power as heat.  Both of these shorten the life of the motors, as well as incur electricity costs.  Voltage Optimisation can address this by reducing the supply voltage to your electrical equipment which reduces your power consumption and energy usage. 

Poor Power Factor – Without getting too technical, machinery loads can also distort power in your factory. The froth in the beer analogy is reactive power.  A good Power Factor is 95%-100%, but we regularly see factories operating at 80% or less.  This costs money, and can often be fixed using a Power Factor Correction (PFC) device.

All three of these losses can exist.  The solutions operate in different ways and are complementary technologies.  Just because you have solved one, doesn’t mean the others wouldn’t work. 

How Purpose-Built Containers Can Help Businesses Meet Their Environmental Goals

768 512 Stuart O'Brien

In the age of sustainability, businesses are growing the efforts to meet new environmental goals. Whether preserving the environment or reducing waste, your choice of workspace is vital.

Of course, sustainability has more benefits for businesses than simply protecting the environment. For consumers, sustainable businesses that are ethically aware are rewarded with their custom. In fact, one consumer index found that 47 per cent of people worldwide have changed to a different product or service because a company violated their personal values.

Considering environmental practices as a strong consumer value, you can expand your operations while remaining sustainably aware. Purpose-built containers have long been used as extensions for businesses. However, the benefits of this space can also help meet your environmental goals. Here, we look at why purpose-built containers are the solution for your sustainable business. 

Less is more

Purpose-built containers can add a lot to a business. But it is actually what they take away which makes them so environmentally friendly. According to WRAP, the UK construction sector uses 400 million tonnes of materials and generates 100 million tonnes of waste every year. This waste contributes to over a third of the UK’s total waste. The evidence suggests that construction is currently operating at unsustainable levels.

Containers can reduce the amount of waste generated by minimising the types of materials used in their simple yet effective design. The steel walls are fabricated to minimise waste, each being designed and cut to size. Any excess materials can contribute to the construction of another container. A typical 20 ft container may only weigh about 2,230 kilograms, meaning that the weight of materials is lower than purpose-built brick and mortar spaces.

The benefits of this are overwhelming for businesses. Money can be saved on both material cost and constructing heavier-bearing foundations. To further meet your environmental goals, this saved money can be diverted into other sustainable investment funds.

Purpose-built containers can also save space. Condensing your working environment into a container helps protect the natural environment too. This means that natural habitats are not disturbed by the construction of larger industrial spaces.

Energy conservation

Purpose-built containers can benefit your business through energy conservation. Containers can be easily insulated, meaning that temperature is regulated during both hot and cold seasons. Fuel needs are also minimised, as the confined space of the container means that not as much energy is needed to climate control work area.

Containers can also help with your investments in renewable energy. The simple design of the container means that solar panels can be mounted on the roof of your repurposed space. The energy from which can be used to power electrical essentials within your new space. Using renewable energy is the most proactive way for a business to meet its environmental goals. It is also a visible sign for customers that your business is dedicated to sustainable practices.

Longevity and reusability

One concern that businesses may have with purpose-built containers is their longevity. However, this issue is ill-founded. In fact, containers used for retail or industrial space can last around 30 years. Hard-wearing materials such as steel are coated with zinc paint coat, slowing the process of rusting. Erosion is also less likely than one would expect with brick-and-mortar spaces. 

The solid structure of these containers mean that your business can rest assured that its space is protected from the elements. Reducing repairs can help to combat issues with sustainability and will contribute towards your environmental goals.

Equally, the long-lasting and minimal material needs of containers means that they can be reused and repurposed. Of course, the original purpose of these containers was for hauling and storage. Today, they are a popular alternative for many businesses looking for a workspace. When container space is no longer needed, the space it occupied can be easily reclaimed without contributing to landfill waste or paying for expensive deconstruction. The material or container in its entirety can then be rebuilt or reused by another business or for other purposes.

When reviewing your business’ environmental goals, consider how your workspace can help to achieve this. Purpose-built containers can be used to achieve energy efficiency and reduce waste. Plus, the simple design benefits the installation of insulation and renewable energy sources. These spaces are a viable tool for growing businesses to ensure they maintain sustainable practices.

Make sure these two FM industry events are in your diary!

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Registration is now open for our hybrid Facilities Management Forum and Smart FM Forum!

FacilIties Management Forum

28th & 29th June – Hilton Deansgate, Manchester (virtual attendance available).

This unique Forum has been created to help you build business connections with the latest innovative and budget-saving suppliers within your industry.

What does your pass include?

Senior professionals like you can attend entirely for FREE.
We will create you a bespoke itinerary of 1-2-1 relaxed meetings with innovative and budget-saving suppliers that match your requirements.

You will also gain access to a series of seminar presentations, focusing on the current issues and future challenges within the industry.

Overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments are also included.

Virtual attendance options are available)

Smart FM Forum

We also thrilled to introduce the Smart FM Forum, a brand new virtual event – 13th & 14th October.

The Forum is hosted across two-mornings and gives you the opportunity to meet one-to-one with the latest innovative and budget-saving suppliers within the industry.

  • Enjoy free, flexible, virtual attendance to fit around your schedule.
  • Our cutting-edge software creates you a bespoke itinerary that allows you to virtually meet essential and budget-saving suppliers for short 1-2-1 meetings, based on mutual agreement and matched requirements.
  • Create new business relationships and gain industry knowledge easily, from the comfort of your home/office.
  • Enjoy two insightful, 30-minute, live webinar sessions hosted by industry thought-leaders.
  • Receive additional pre-recorded webinar presentations that focus on the current and future challenges within the Smart FM industry.

Secure your free virtual place here. 

Alternatively, you can contact me if you have any questions regarding the events.

Do you specialise in Carbon Management? We want to hear from you!

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Each month on Energy Management Briefing we’re shining the spotlight on a different part of the market – and in March we’ll be focussing on Carbon Management.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help energy management buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Carbon Management solutions and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Lisa Rose on 01992 374077 /

Our features list in full:

Mar – Carbon Management
Apr – Metering & Monitoring
May – Water Management/Strategy
Jun – Energy Storage
Jul – Data Collection & Management
Aug- Waste Management
Sep – Solar PV
Oct – Lighting
Nov – Heating & Ventilation
Dec – Onsite Renewables

Self-sustaining cities: The UK’s best city to survive a zombie apocalypse

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Wind farms, electric vehicle chargers and recycling centres are just a few ways the UK has learned to be more sustainable and benefit society at the same time. But which UK city would be most successful if left to their own devices? 

Based on the environmental factors and number of self-sustaining features in the most populated UK cities, such as air quality and farming areas, created an index-based point system to uncover which city is most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse.

Living in Cambridge is your best bet to surviving a zombie apocalypse, amassing 348 points.

Cambridge is home to the most onshore wind farms (24) and recycling centres in the UK (5.68 per 100,000 of the population) – meaning that those looking to self-sustain are more likely to be successful in producing their own energy and reusing waste!

Following in second place is Swansea, with the city collecting 341 points. Surviving an apocalypse in Swansea would be made easier as they have the largest number of open park space (45.8 parks per 100,000 of the population) along with the most farmers (1.86% of the population), resulting in lots of outdoor space and professional farming knowledge. 

Belfast is the third best place in the UK to survive a zombie apocalypse (329 points). The city has the fourth highest percentage of farming areas in the UK (75% of land) and a significant number of wind farms(19). 

Fourth and fifth place go to Bristol and Armagh city, receiving 275 and 262 points respectively. Bristol has the best air quality in the UK and Armagh places highly due to the city’s large farming areas.

To complete the top 10 cities most likely to survive a zombie apocalypse, along with their best features, the results are as follows…

=6. Plymouth (254 points) – yearly solar energy production and farming areas

=6. Newry (254 points) – recycling centres and farming areas

7. Edinburgh (249 points) – parks and farming areas

8.  Dundee (230 points) – farmers in the city and farming areas

9. Gloucester (226 points) – parks and farming areas

10. Manchester (207 points) – parks and farming areas

Collecting just 82 points, found that Oxford is the worst city to live in if there was a zombie apocalypse. Due to the lack of wind farms (0), farmers (0.53% of population) and moderate air quality, they rank at the bottom of the table.

The second worst city is Preston. With 104 points, the city has just over 2 parks per 100,000 people and only 32 electric vehicle charging devices per 100,000 people.

Following in third is Derby, amassing 108 points in total – the city’s moderate air quality and low volume of recycling centres are partially responsible. 

In fourth place are Southampton and Nottingham, both joint with 110 points, and following in fifth is Glasgow with 111 points

To complete the top 10, alongside their worst rated self-sustaining features, the results are as follows…

6. Leeds (134 points) – wind farms and electric vehicle charging devices

7. Sunderland (136 points) – recycling centres and farmers

8. Leicester (140 points) – electric vehicle charging devices and recycling centres

9. Reading (141 points) – parks and wind farms

10. Liverpool (142 points) – recycling centres and farmers

You ca read about the full methodology and more information about each city’s factors here:

40% of firms’ green claims ‘could be misleading’

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

A Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) co-ordinated global review of randomly selected websites has so far found that 40% of green claims made online could be misleading consumers.

The International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN) hosts an annual sweep of websites, which gives consumer authorities across the world the opportunity to target fraudulent, deceptive or unfair conduct online.

The CMA and The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) led the latest sweep, focusing on misleading environmental claims for the first time.

This comes as the CMA’s own investigation into misleading environmental claims is ongoing, to better understand the impact of green marketing on consumers.

As part of the international sweep, ICPEN members have so far analysed almost 500 websites promoting products and services across a range of sectors, including clothes, cosmetics and food.

Members found that 4 in 10 of these websites appeared to be using tactics that could be considered misleading and therefore potentially break consumer law. These included:

  • Vague claims and unclear language including terms such as ‘eco’ or ‘sustainable’ or reference to ‘natural products’ without adequate explanation or evidence of the claims.
  • Own brand eco logos and labels not associated with an accredited organisation.
  • Hiding or omitting certain information, such as a product’s pollution levels, to appear more eco-friendly.

Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, said: “Too many websites appear to be pushing misleading claims onto consumers, which means that companies offering products with a genuine environmental benefit are not getting the customers they deserve. People should be able to easily choose between those companies who are doing the right thing for the environment and those who are not.

“This is a global issue, so it’s only right that we look at it in a global context. Our joint work with other regulators will help us identify the big issues facing consumers and protect people from paying a premium for fake ‘eco-friendly’ products.”

The results of the international sweep will be used to inform the CMA’s ongoing investigation, alongside results from a CMA survey of businesses and consumers, who were invited to have their say on ‘green’ products and marketing last November.

The CMA will publish guidance for UK businesses later this year to help them support the transition to a low carbon economy whilst ensuring that consumers get the information they need.

At this early stage, ICPEN members have not reached a view as to whether or not consumer protection law has been broken. However, if the CMA finds evidence that businesses are misleading UK consumers, it will take appropriate action.

All updates on the CMA’s work in this area can be found on the Misleading Environmental Claims case page.