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Coal - fuel consumption in the United Kingdom 1970-2019

The coal industry in Britain spans back to Roman times, but over the past four decades the industry has been steadily declining. The consumption of inland coal has decreased significantly since 1970, when it amounted to 157 million metric tons. By 2019, this figure had fallen to just nine million metric tons. The decline in consumption can be seen in coals share in the generation of electricity. In 2012, coals share was approximately 40 percent. However, with changing attitudes towards fossils fuels this share had fallen to just 6.7 percent by 2017.


Historically the UK has been a leader in the production of coal, producing 147 million metric tons from deep and surface mining as recently as 1970. However, as with consumption, production has been in decline and by 2019 amounted to approximately 2.1 million metric tons.

Mine closures and economic impacts

  The number of coal mines closing has been increasing for decades, with the number of deep mines falling from 33 in 2000 to just five in 2019. These closures have had a noticeable impact on employment figures. What was once a major industry, employing more than one million people in 1920, has seen employment numbers drop to just 1,000 over the course of a century.

Inland coal consumption in the United Kingdom (UK) from 1970 to 2019

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Release date

July 2020


United Kingdom

Survey time period

1970 to 2019

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Statistics on "Coal industry in the UK"

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