Public Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) funding into energy has declined dramatically within the UK over the past two decades or so.
International Energy Agency (IEA) figures indicate that the scale of this decrease stands at around 90 , from around £250 million to under £50 million, in the period from 1988 to 1998. Whilst this mirrors the trend in many OECD countries, it is particularly severe within the UK because of the magnitude, which is significantly larger than that in any other OECD country. Secondly, the UK budget is now on a par with those of the smaller Spanish, Danish and Norwegian economies, rather than the other leading economies in France and Germany.
The privatisation of public owned and operated utility companies (amongst others) in recent decades has partly caused this decline. For example, British Gas formerly spent £70 million pounds per year on R, D & D, but now Lattice, which took over most of British Gas’s research functions, spent just £14 million in the 15 months to March 2002.
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