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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Mags Tingey

Mags Tingey
Mags Tingey
Research officer and PhD researcher
2.27 Chisholm House High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
+44 (0)131 650 8093 Margaret.tingey[at]
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 part-time PhD researcher and Research Officer in the Heat and the City research group. Access our research on sustainable heating for low energy buildings and cities at

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 on Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS).

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

Doctoral Research

PhD, part-time, Working Title: Local Governance of Energy Initiatives: the influence of the Best Value concept

My research concerns the capacity of local actors to assemble investment in low carbon energy systems. Specifically, I examine the interactions of valuation frameworks in the development of local authority-led energy initiatives. Drawing on an economic sociology perspective, the Best Value framework for local government is one object of investigation in my thesis.

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

Knowledge Exchange Networks

I have supported the Scottish Heat Network Partnership Practitioner Group (with Dave Hawkey) and have also been the support officer for the UK district energy vanguards network, a UK-wide knowledge exchange network whose core consists of local authorities and housing associations actively developing or operating district energy systems.

The blog post Running Public Consultation events: Heat and Energy Efficiency Strategies and Regulation of District Heating reflects on the Consultation on Heat & Energy Efficiency Strategies, and Regulation of District Heating held by Scottish Government in association with the Heat Network Partnership Practitioner Group in early 2017.

Previous Research Projects

Local Engagement in UK Energy Systems

This research examined the current and future contribution of local authorities to a low carbon, affordable and secure UK energy system. It 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

Heat and the City

Led by Professor Jan Webb and funded by the RCUK Energy Programme, Heat and the City ran from 2010 to 2014. In the blog post District heating: can we fix the plumbing of cities for sustainable futures? we discuss the implications of heat networks and how more sustainable heating provisions can be created. It draws on the book Sustainable Urban Energy Policy: Heat and the City published in 2016.


All outputs are on our research website


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


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) (Special Issue on Families, Relationships and the Environment: Climate Change, Sustainability and Biodiversity), p411-429

Webb J, Hawkey D, and Tingey M (2016) Governing cities for sustainable energy: The UK case, Cities, 54 (Special Issue on Cities, Energy and Climate Change Mitigation), p28-35

Recent Reports and Policy Briefs

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

Consultation Responses

Wade F, Webb J, Tingey M, and Myers H (2019) Heat and the City response to Energy Efficient Scotland – March 2019 Consultation. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh

Tingey M, Braunholtz-Speight T,  Hawkey D, McLachlan C, and Webb J (2018) Welsh Government Locally owned renewable energy: A call for evidence Response from the UK Energy Research Centre. London: UKERC

Hawkey D, Bush R, Tingey M, and Webb J (2018) Response to Scottish Government’s “Second consultation on local heat & energy efficiency strategies, and regulation of district and communal heating”. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh

Webb J, Hawkey D, Bush R, and Tingey M (2017) Heat & Energy Efficiency Strategies, and Regulation of District Heating Response to Consultation from the Heat and the City Research Team, University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh

Bush R, Hawkey D, Kerr N, Tingey M, Wade F, and Webb J (2017) SEEP consultation response: Energy Strategy - Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) National infrastructure priority for energy efficiency. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh

Watson J, and Winskel M, eds (2017) 'Scottish Energy Strategy: The Future of Energy in Scotland', UKERC response. London: UKERC

Recent Presentations

Key findings from research on Energy Services delivery models used by Local Authorities. Energy Services and Technology Association (ESTA) Energy Services Contracting Group Annual Conference 2019 ‘Accelerating the Energy Transition: the role of energy services’, London, May 2019.

Local energy business structures: prospects for reducing energy demand. UKERC Annual Research Conference 2019 ‘Local Energy Systems in National and International Contexts’, Oxford, April 2019.

Local Authority Engagement in UK Energy Systems: Ambitions, Activities, Business Structures & Ways Forward. University of Leeds Sustainability Research Institute seminar series, Leeds, October 2018.

Business models and citizen activism in the German municipal energy sector: key insights for UK and Scottish energy contexts. European Sociological Association RN12 - Environment and Society Midterm conference, Energy transitions in a divided world, Exeter, September 2018.

The energy leaders and laggards in UK local authorities: An institutional analysis of local energy governance and prospects for energy innovation in UK towns and cities. Leibniz Research Alliance Energy Transitions International Conference Breaking the Rules! Energy Transitions as Social Innovations, Berlin, June 2018.

Ownership models and business structures in UK Local Authority energy initiatives. Heat and the City International Workshop on Publicly Owned Energy Companies, Edinburgh, May 2018.

UK Local Authority Action on Energy. UK District Energy Vanguards Network Event on Developing Your Heat Network Business Case, Leeds, January 2018.

Research groups