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Sociology: People


Mags Tingey

Mags Tingey
Mags Tingey
Research Officer
2.27 Chisholm House High School Yards
Research Interests
Local energy governance and organisation (LEGO), District Energy, energy policy and politics, local government, energy and society, Valuation Studies, Economic Sociology

My research is about local government strategies for investment in low carbon energy. I am a member of the Heat and the City research group. Access our research on sustainable heating for low energy buildings and cities at

At a glance: Jan Webb and I reflect on the supportive public policy needed for Making local authority energy ambition a reality in the UKERC Newsletter (June, 2020).

Current Research Projects

Multi-level Governance and Energy Demand

We are examining how devolved, regional and local authorities are responding differently to goals of low energy, low carbon development and building retrofit. The research contributes to the Policy and Governance theme in the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS).

Our blog Taking stock of the role for local action on clean energy in the UK’s decarbonisation efforts (Oct, 2019) reflects on significance of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committe 2019 report Clean Growth: Technologies for meeting the UK’s emissions reduction targets for local action on clean energy.

Project team: Dr Dan van der Horst (GeoSciences, Edinburgh), Professor Jan Webb and Mags Tingey.

Doctoral Research

Local Governance of Energy Initiatives: Struggles in Assembling Value

My thesis investigation analysed how formal local authority decision making tools and procedures shape the development of energy projects. I used a sociological perspective on practices of valuation to consider how value is mediated and negotiated through these formal processes. This provided the lens through which to examine decision making about local energy planning and investment. I found that energy projects were subjected to diverse processes which prioritised cost saving and income generation, and marginalised energy and carbon saving and public goods.

Submitted August 2020

Supervisors: Professor Jan Webb, Dr Dave Hawkey, and Dr Faye Wade

Previous Research Projects

Local Engagement in UK Energy Systems

We examined the current and future contribution of local authorities to a low carbon, affordable and secure UK energy system. LEUKES ran from 2014-2018 (with a pilot study in 2013), and was co-funded by the Energy Technologies Institute and part of the UK Energy Research Centre Phase 3.

The Main Report is available here. The blog Local Authorities play key role in providing clean energy for all summarises our findings (Nov, 2017).

Heat and the City

Led by Professor Jan Webb and funded by the RCUK Energy Programme, Heat and the City explored sustainable heating provision in urban areas. We had a particular focus on heat networks. It ran from 2010 to 2014.

Our 2016 book Sustainable Urban Energy Policy: Heat and the City is based on the research. The blog District heating: can we fix the plumbing of cities for sustainable futures? (Dec, 2015) discusses the implications of heat networks for sustainable heating provision.


Lane M, van der Horst D, Tingey M, Smith C, and Webb J (2020) Social innovation in the shadow of policy failure: Energy efficiency in self-build housing. Global Transitions, 2, 180-189

Tingey M, and Webb J (2020) Governance institutions and prospects for local energy innovation: laggards and leaders among UK local authorities. Energy Policy, 138, 111211,

Van Veelen B, Pinker A, Tingey M, Taylor Aiken G, and Eadson W (2019) What can energy research bring to social science? Reflections on 5 years of Energy Research & Social Science and beyond. Energy Research and Social Science, 57, 101240

Creamer M, Eadson W, Van-Veelen B, Pinker A, Tingey M, Braunholtz-Speight T, Markantoni M, Foden M, and Lacey-Barnacle M (2018) Community energy: Entanglements of community, state, and private sector. Geography Compass,  12(7) e12378

Webb J, Hawkey D, McCrone D, and Tingey M (2016) House, home and transforming energy in a cold climate, Families, Relationships and Societies, 5(3), p411-429

Webb J, Hawkey D, and Tingey M (2016) Governing cities for sustainable energy: The UK case, Cities, 54, p28-35

Hawkey D, Webb J, Lovell H, McCrone D, Tingey M, and Winskel M (2016) Sustainable Urban Energy Policy: Heat and the city. Abingdon: Routledge

Recent Reports and Policy Briefs

Tingey M, and Webb J (2020) Net zero localities: ambition & value in UK local authority investment. Glasgow: Energy Revolution Research Centre and University of Strathclyde Publishing. ISBN 978-1-909522-59-6

Kuzemko C, Britton J, and Tingey M (2019) Local Sustainable Energy Taskforce: Policy Briefing March 2019. Warwick: University of Warwick

Tingey M, and Webb J (2018) Who else will need to deliver? The role of community and local institutions. In: Lloyd H. eds. A distributed energy future for the UK: An essay collection. London: Institute for Public Policy Research

Hawkey D, Tingey M, and Webb J (2018) Workshop report International workshop on public ownership of energy. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh

Webb J, Tingey M, and Hawkey D (2017) What We Know about Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems: Ambitions, Activities, Business Structures & Ways Forward. London, UK Energy Research Centre and Loughborough, Energy Technologies Institute

Tingey M, Webb J, and Hawkey D (2017) Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems: Highlights from Early Findings. Loughborough and London: The ETI and UKERC

Tingey M (2017) Local Heat & Energy Efficiency Strategies and Regulation of District Heating: Workshop report to Scottish Government. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh

All outputs are on our research website

Research groups