Greenhouse gas emissions fell by the greatest amount of any European Union (EU) member state during 2015, according to newly released figures.

The UK reduced its emissions by the equivalent of 19.4 million tonnes of carbon or 3.7%, bucking the wider trend for the EU, which saw its total emissions rise by 0.5%.

Spain, Italy and the Netherlands posted the largest rises.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) blamed rising demand for transport for the increase in emissions, despite vehicles becoming more environmentally-friendly.

Growth of renewables

Emissions had fallen by 4% during 2014.

Between 1990 and 2015, the EU reduced its emissions by 22.1%, ahead of its 2020 target for a 20% decrease.

The EEA explained: “The main reasons behind the emission reductions since 1990 include the effects of EU and national policies (leading to the growing use of renewable energy, use of less carbon intensive fuels and improvements in energy efficiency), structural change towards a more service-oriented economy, the effects of economic recession, and milder winters, leading to reduced energy demand for heating.”

> Download the report