UPDATE 1-UK greenhouse gas emissions fell 3.6% in 2019 - provisional govt data

(Adds more detail, quotes, graphic)

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - Greenhouse gas emissions fell 3.6% last year in Britain, dropping for the seventh year running, driven by the shift from coal use in power generation to renewables, provisional government data showed on Thursday.

Greenhouse gas emissions were estimated at 435.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, 3.6% lower than in 2018 and a 45% drop from 1990, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said in a preliminary report.

The rate of decline was greater than 2018’s 2.5% and 2017’s 3%.

Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions have now fallen 45% since 1990. The country has a legally binding goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main greenhouse gas, accounting for 81% of total UK emissions in 2019. CO2 emissions were estimated to be 351.5 million tonnes, 3.9% lower than in 2018.

“The decrease has resulted mainly from changes in the mix of fuels being used for electricity generation, with a shift away from coal and growth in the use of renewable energy sources,” the report said.

“This was combined with lower electricity demand, owing to greater efficiency resulting from improvements in technology and a decline in the relative importance of energy intensive industries,” it added.

Emissions from transport fell by 2.8%, due to reduced traffic volumes and fuel efficiency.

Emissions from the residential sector were down 1.8%, likely due to improved weather conditions compared to the previous year, the report said.

Around 80 percent of Britain’s homes are warmed using natural gas.

Reporting by Nina Chestney, additional reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Jan Harvey and Angus MacSwan