My three New Year resolutions for ministers to cut pollution

 In Education, Energy Saving

Tis the season for making New Year’s resolutions this week so environment expert Ron Fox, gives three of his green suggestions to the government to help the UK reduce our carbon footprint. 

1 Move up a gear on electric cars: More financial incentives are needed to encourage motorists to swap polluting petrol cars for electric ones.  

The good news is that electric cars accounted for one in five sales in November, 2021 as drivers, attracted by a new range of models and rocketing fuel prices, moved over to these vehicles which produce zero carbon dioxide exhaust emissions.

The bad news, said Ron, is that the government has cut grants to help buy electric vehicles for the second time in a year, but has not reduced the 20 per cent VAT on their purchase price.

The maximum discount motorists can receive has dropped from £3,000 to £2,500 in March, 2021, and is now down to £1,500 on cars costing £32,000 instead of £35,000. Also, grants on large electric vans have been cut from £6,000 to £5,000 and on smaller vans from £3,000 to £2,500

“We should be encouraging owners to swap now, particularly as the government is banning the sale of new pure petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030 and hybrid vehicles by 2035,” added Ron.  

“My first resolution is that ministers stop reducing the discount any further in 2022, particularly on vans. We want businesses to buy more electric vans as people want deliveries to their homes which, in turn, will cut pollution in town and city centres. 

“Also, the government should look at axing VAT on new electric car sales, particularly for the less well-off. A 20 per cent price reduction would be a great incentive as many buyers are put off by electric cars costing up to £10,000 more than petrol or diesel equivalents, even though they then have far lower running costs.”

2 Ban wet wipes: A law to end the scourge of plastic-based wet wipes should be brought in as a matter of urgency this year.

Ron pointed out that 11 billion wet wipes are used in the UK each year with more than 90 per cent containing plastic.

“The problem is that when they are flushed down toilets, they create fatbergs that clog up sewers, pollute rivers and seas and create litter that causes devastation to wildlife,” he said. “Also, they are believed to be responsible for 93 per cent of blockages in sewers costing water customers £100 million a year to clear.”

He wants manufacturers to make more sustainable alternatives and to provide clearer labelling on how to dispose of these items correctly.

3 Get it in the can now: A plan to charge a 20p deposit on drinks bottles and cans to reduce litter and encourage recycling, which was proposed in 2017, has been put back again until the end of 2024 at the earliest.

About 14 billion plastic drinks bottles, 9 billion cans and 5 billion glass bottles are bought in the UK each year. About three quarters are recycled, the rest are sent to landfill, incinerated or dropped as litter. 

“The scheme to charge consumers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a small deposit for the containers which they could claim if they returned them for recycling,” seemed a simple and effective solution to cutting back on litter,” said Ron. “I think the government should relook at this idea in 2022.”

Ron “For advice about green energy contact me on 0845 474 6641 – but in the meantime have a happy and peaceful New Year.” 

Caption: A 20p deposit plan on drinks bottles and cans, which has been delayed for five years, should be looked at again this year.

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