Country

UK country profile
02 Dec 2014

Summary: The UK comprises four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is governed by a national parliament in the capital city of London, England. Some responsibilities are devolved to the Scottish Parliament and Assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK has been a member of the EU since 1975 but is not a member of the Euro-zone.

ukmap.jpgThe national parliament has a democratically elected lower house, the House of Commons and an upper house, the House of Lords, whose membership is partly appointed and partly hereditary. The House of Commons is the primary legislature; the House of Lords acts as a check and balance. The current government is formed of a coalition between the Conservatives, who hold the most seats in the House of Commons, and the Liberal Democrats; the Labour Party is the main opposition party.

The UK has a population of 63.7 million. The language is English. The UK covers an area of 23 million hectares. In 2012, GDP at market prices was £1562 bn, or £25,000 per head. Manufacturing accounts just over 10% of GDP and the service sectors represent 59%. The UK is an open economy with a high level of trade in both goods and services. In 2012, exports of goods were £300 bn (half to the EU) and imports £409 bn, while there was a surplus in overseas earnings from services of £74 bn. There is a high rate of participation in the labour market and unemployment has fallen below 8%.

  • Contact point
  • Name
  • Mike Lancaster
  • Organisation
  • CIA
  • Position
  • Head of Events & Regional Affairs
  • Phone
  • +44 1430 421077
  • E-mail
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

energy 2012

In 2012, 47% of gas requirements were met by imports sourced by pipeline from the North Sea, Norway and the Netherlands, and as LNG by sea. A small proportion of electricity needs (4%) is supplied from France and 70% of coal requirements are imported.

The UK chemical and pharmaceutical industry accounts for approximately 10% of EU production. All major subsectors of the industry are represented in the UK. Approximately 150,000 people are employed.

Post-recession, there has been a protracted period in which production has failed to pick up and this has not been helped by high energy prices and a trend for outsourcing pharmaceuticals production to Asia. However, investment and R&D spending have been maintained, and there are at last signs of stabilisation and future renewed growth with some onshoring of pharmaceuticals.

Below are the official data for UK chemical industry energy consumption and feedstock use.

chemical sector energy uk

The energy use above is equivalent to emissions of 15 MtCO2.

Regarding energy efficiency, the Chemical Industries Association manages the chemicals sector climate change agreement (CCA). The CCAs are voluntary agreements under which energy-intensive sectors commit to challenging energy efficiency targets in exchange for relief from the Climate Change Levy, a tax on the business use of energy. Under the chemical sector CCA and a voluntary energy efficiency agreement that preceded this, the sector has improved its energy efficiency by 35% from 1990-2010. Under a new term of the CCAs, we are also committed to further improve our energy efficiency by 11% by 2020.

95.6% of UK companies in the chemicals sector (including pharmaceuticals) are SMEs, employing 42% of the total workforce, accounting for 29% of turnover and 23% of value added. SMEs tend to be highly innovative and are key participants in the chemical industry supply chains.

All CIA members sign up to the Guiding Principles of Responsible Care (RC) as a condition for CIA membership. Companies report annually their principal statistics for health, safety and environment. For many years we have therefore been able to demonstrate to our stakeholders how the overall chemical industry in the UK has performed.

Every year the association recognises excellence in many aspects of performance under its chemical industry awards. The RC award rewards the site that shows excellence and is regarded as being very prestigious. The awards also cover individual areas of HSE performance including leadership awards for process safety, health and environmental and a low carbon award.

CIA has also introduced a new process for the verification of a company's commitment to Responsible Care at site level. A unique peer-review approach is designed to enable good practice sharing and learnings across member companies. It also entails a simple scoring system which provides for sector performance monitoring and allows benchmarking to be carried out across participating sites. So far, over one third of CIA members have taken part in this initiative.

Local Responsible Care cell meetings provide a superb opportunity for practitioners to meet in an active forum to share their experience and best practice across all aspects of HSE.

CIA also manages a lively programme of seminars, conferences and workshops at locations throughout the UK. Over recent years events have covered issues such as: occupied buildings, waste management, process safety leadership, and water management.

  • Contact point
  • Name
  • Nick Sturgeon
  • Organisation
  • CIA
  • Position
  • Director, Energy, Trade and Competitiveness
  • Phone
  • +44 20 7963 6752
  • E-mail
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Website
  • http://www.cia.org.uk/
 

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