Wealthy ‘use more energy than the poor’

Mike Childs, head of science at Friends of the Earth, said it is not surprising that the wealthiest consume most energy.
Mike Childs, head of science at Friends of the Earth, said it is not surprising that the wealthiest consume most energy.

Wealthy households in the East Riding consume an extra 8,500 washing machine cycles’ worth of energy a year compared to those on the lowest incomes, figures reveal.

Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth says the UK’s richest residents must significantly reduce their consumption if the country is to tackle the climate crisis.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy data shows that households with an annual income of £150,000 or more burned through an average of 17,306 kilowatt hours in gas in the year to June 2018. This was 6,523kWh more than those with an income of less than £15,000.

One kilowatt hour is the amount of energy it takes to run a 1,000 watt appliance for one hour. The consumption figures refer to the median average. Richer homes also got through 1,946kWh more electricity on average in the 12 months to January 2018.

Mike Childs, head of science at Friends of the Earth, said it is not surprising that the wealthiest in the UK consume most energy.

Matt Copeland, policy manager at the charity National Energy Action, which campaigns against fuel poverty, said that many poorer households are forced to ration their energy usage, meaning they could be living in a “dangerously cold home”.