One of the least green budgets ever, says Greenpeace

By agency reporter
November 23, 2017

Responding to the Budget, John Sauven, chief executive of Greenpeace, said, “Despite the Chancellor’s pride in the UK’s climate leadership, hidden away in the unannounced text of the budget, he quietly revealed this was one of the least green budgets ever, because there will be no new money for renewables until at least 2025. This is the death knell for new renewable energy like tidal, wave and geothermal technology despite the huge economic opportunities they could bring.

“Instead, his Budget focused on propping up dirty, incumbent industries of the past, from North Sea oil and gas, to polluting diesel cars. The Chancellor’s increase to Vehicle Excise Duty, while making the right noises, was far too weak to shift the market away from polluting diesel vehicles and reduce toxic air pollution that is harming our nation’s health.

“On the natural environment, the Chancellor has shown more support for tackling single use plastics that are harming our oceans. His call for evidence should be followed by swift action in the new year.”

In response to the Chancellor’s announcement on an increase in VED on new diesel cars, Paul Morozzo, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace said, “Tough action is needed to deter new diesel sales in order to protect public health. Increasing VED on new diesel cars is a good start, but increasing the cost by one band won’t make enough of a dent in diesel’s market share or the air pollution crisis plaguing our towns and cities. And questions remain about how clean new models that have been through the revised testing system actually are. All new diesel cars should be subject to an £800 increase in VED, which would not only fund a national network of clean air zones, but support a scrappage scheme for the most polluting vehicles.”

Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement on funding for electric vehicle infrastructure, Paul Morozzo said, “Consumers need help to switch to electric vehicles, so this is a welcome investment. Investing more now means the UK could secure a leading share in the burgeoning electric vehicle technology market, bringing the UK revenue and skilled jobs. But if the government wants its piece of the cake, it will need to work harder. That means more investment in electric and a much shorter time frame on phasing out diesel vehicle sales.

Commenting on the Chancellor’s confirmation of a call to evidence for single use plastics, Louise Edge, Senior Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace, said, “It’s great that Philip Hammond recognises that the root of the problem here is the relentlessly increasing torrent of plastic products which are intended for a moment’s use but last for centuries. Accommodating this tidal wave of waste has huge costs, both economically and environmentally. We urgently need to innovate ourselves out of this mess with new approaches and materials, and the government’s role is to both deter unnecessary plastic production and incentivise the sustainable alternatives, some new and some tried and tested.”

In response to the Chancellor’s announcement to provide tax breaks for North Sea oil and gas developers, Hannah Martin, energy campaigner at Greenpeace, said, “Old North Sea oil and gas rigs have passed their sell by date and need to be decommissioned. Government tax breaks for decommissioning might sound like a solution, but in reality a huge amount of taxpayers’ money is at stake to extend the life of these rigs, possibly for only a few years. Instead of giving billions of pounds of tax breaks to oil and gas companies, clean renewable power like solar are clamouring for small tax changes that would open up private investment in the genuine clean long-term energy of the future. Instead of desperately trying to chase the old, Britain should be looking to a new energy system.”

* Greenpeace https://www.greenpeace.org.uk/

[Ekk/6]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.