Chancellor ‘missed chances to boost green energy’
The 2018 Budget was a missed opportunity to boost the green economy and help save the planet, says a Midlands energy expert.
“It is ironic that only a few weeks after the world’s top scientists warned that we have just 12 years to reduce the world’s rising temperatures, climate change was not even mentioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer,” said Ron Fox of Noreus Ltd.
He said there was no new support for onshore wind and solar power and Philip Hammond chose not to tax disposable coffee cups and brand new plastic.
At the same time he didn’t launch a long-awaited diesel scrappage fund for older polluting vehicles but still put £30 billion in to improve road building. Already the Government has cut support for electric cars and axed help for hybrid vehicles.
“The Budget should have led the way towards a greener country with cleaner energy, warmer homes and purer air,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park. “Instead the Government shoveled more money into fossil fuels.”
But he said it wasn’t all bad news; there were some encouraging signs in the Budget to help the environment.
Food and drink companies will be taxed on plastic packaging that doesn’t include at least 30% recycled content. This is to reduce dependence on “virgin plastics” that are difficult or impossible to recycle, such as black food trays and plastic straws.
However, the new tax is not due to come into force until April 2022, but it will cover both plastics produced in the UK as well as those imported.
The Chancellor also unveiled a fund of £20m to tackle plastics and boost recycling with £10m for research and development and £10m for innovative approaches to reducing litter, such as electronic smart bins.
Plus there is £10m to stamp out fly-tipping, £10m for tree-planting, £50m in carbon credits for woodland-planting landowners, a new business energy efficiency scheme and more cash for firms shifting to low-carbon power.
“All these moves are good moves,” said Ron, “but the Government missed an opportunity to do more.
“I would particularly liked to have seen the Chancellor reverse the decision on phasing out the Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) payments for solar panels next Spring.”
Previously residents, who swapped to the green energy using free sunlight, had the benefits of cheaper bills and being able to sell any surplus energy back to the Grid, as well as helping to protect the planet.
“With the cost of solar panels coming down, easy installation and low maintenance residents can easily become energy self-sufficient,” he added.
But now these Feed-in Tariffs payments are to be withdrawn to new entrants from April 1, 2019.
However, if householders install solar panels before then, they can still qualify for the payments for 20 years with the rate changing according to the Retail Price Index (RPI).
For more advice on switching to green energy and installing solar panels contact Ron on 0845 474 6641.