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Executive summary

Our Environment and Innovation Report is a transparent and public account of our environmental and innovation performance over the last twelve months.

The report is a comprehensive overview of our progress in environmental protection, written for stakeholders. The report provides a clear justification for our actions and outlines the economic and ecological benefits to our customers.

Reducing our impact on the environment and accelerating the shift to low carbon technologies are key RIIO-ED1 outputs. We’ve made significant progress during 2020-21, including: 

Environmental highlights

  • Publication of our Environment Strategy and our plans for RIIO-ED2
    Zero-waste to landfill achieved in three licence areas
    Ongoing and impressive reduction in our Business Carbon Footprint
    Reduction in fluid-filled cable losses and SF6 leaks across the business
    Successfully maintaining our ISO14001 certification and responsible environmental management throughout the Covid-19 pandemic

Innovation highlights

  • Completed 26 Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) projects 
  • 23 organisations took part in our first ever communities and consumer vulnerability NIA call-out for ideas
  • 30,805 website visits
  • £30m+ invested in NIA projects to data
  • 78 project partners and suppliers involved in NIA projects


  • Continue to improve and progress in our RIIO-ED1 business environmental outputs – specifically reducing fluid-filled cable leaks and SF6 emissions
  • Continue to identify and remove PCB contaminated equipment across the entire distribution network
  • Maintain and improve our environmental performance and compliance record with the environmental regulators
  • Ongoing investment in the development of SF6 alternatives

Protected landscapes

We operate 90,000km of overhead lines predominantly in rural locations, delivering power while protecting Britain’s landscapes.

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Oil leakage

Older electricity cables contain oil to improve their insulation properties and enhance cooling.

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Carbon impact and climate change

We’re committed to protecting our planet, minimising the environmental impact of our operational activities.

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As described in our RIIO-ED1 business plan, we’re committed to achieving multiple environmental improvements throughout our business.

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Waste Initiatives

We’re reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills through more efficient and effective management.

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Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6)

We’re reducing the use of SF6, a damaging gas that’s used as an insulating medium in switchgear.

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Environmental Management

Since 2015 we’ve been certified to ISO14001, the international standard for environmental management systems (EMS), across all areas we cover.

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Environment and Innovation Report

Our Environment and Innovation Report provides all stakeholders with a transparent and public account of our environmental and innovation performance over the previous year.

PDF / 4MiB

Download our full report

Environment Strategy

In line with our values, feedback received from our stakeholders and our current RIIO-ED2 Business Plan, this Strategy details our business aspirations and our ambitions in becoming a net zero carbon organisation, and ensuring we are environmentally responsible.

PDF / 4MiB

Download our full strategy