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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

I'm a part-time PhD researcher and Research Officer in the Heat and the City research group. My research is about local government strategies for investment in low carbon energy. Access research on sustainable heating for low energy buildings and cities at our research website:

Current Research Projects

Multi-level Governance and Energy Demand

This research is examining how devolved, regional and local authorities are responding differently to goals of low energy, low carbon development and building retrofit.

The project involves Dr Dan van der Horst (GeoSciences, Edinburgh), Professor Jan Webb and Mags Tingey. It is part of the Policy and Governance theme of the Centre for Research on Energy Demand Solutions.

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 am examining 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 and Dr Dave Hawkey

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.

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 Report is available here

The blog Local Authorities play key role in providing clean energy for all summarises our findings

More information and all the outputs are on our research website

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 by Routledge in 2016 (see below).

The Project Brochure is available here

More information is 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

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: Draft workshop report to Scottish Government. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh

Contributor to: Hawkey D (2016) District Heating coordination and development: Workshop report. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh

Hawkey D, Tingey M, and Webb J (2015) Next steps for district heating in Scotland: Workshop report. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh

All reports are available at the Heat and the City website

Consultation responses

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

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.

UK local authorities’ engagement with heat networks. Speaker (with Dave Hawkey and Jan Webb) at the UK Government Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy Heat Network Investor Conference, London, September 2017.

Measurement, stakes, and implications in the valuing of the benefits of decentralised energy systems. CSPS International Conference The Value of Life: Measurement, Stakes, Implications, Wageningen, The Netherlands, June 2017.

Local governance of energy in the UK: A comparative analysis of across nations and regions. 1st International Conference on Energy Research and Social Science Energy for Society, Sitges, Spain, April 2017.

A comparative analysis of local governance of energy in the UK. Work-in-progress paper presented at the Decentralisations: Political Devolution and Sustainable Transitions workshop, London, March 2017.

Research groups

I am member of the following: