Reacting to the UK Government Budget’s announcements Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland Dr Richard Dixon said:

“The UK Government’s budget continues to encourage people to drive, fly and waste energy, and this budget will increase oil production and therefore climate emissions. Apart from some extra cash for electric vehicles and a small increase in cost for the most polluting diesel cars there is little green about this budget.”

On Air Pollution
“Air pollution from traffic is causing a public health crisis in Scotland. The Budget measures to discourage sales of the most polluting diesel cars are a small step in the right direction but are not enough to get to the grips with the the scale of the problem.”

“It makes sense that the tax regime for diesels should reflect the extra financial and health harm that these vehicles have on society. The Chancellor cannot ignore the climate impact of petrol cars and should also increase VED for new petrol cars. Combined with the extra cash for charging points, the signal on diesel vehicles measures could encourage people to make the transition to hybrid and electric vehicles but the freeze on fuel duty sends a very mixed message about when to switch to electric.”

On North Sea oil
”The tax break for sales of oil fields is another subsidy aimed at extending the life of North Sea oil and gas production and will increase our climate emissions at a time when we need to rapidly moving away from fossil fuels. If the Chancellor was serious about supporting workers currently dependent on the North Sea, he’d be planning to ensure that the transition to the new low carbon economy was inclusive of these people and their communities.”

On Plastics
“The UK Government has promised to explore ways to reduce plastic pollution but there are no specific proposals to actually do anything yet. They have merely kicked the plastic bottle down the road, hoping someone else will deal with this enormous problem. ”

On Renewables
“It is particularly disappointing that there were no measures in the Budget to help encourage the renewables industry, with the UK Government’s energy policy still focused on the twin dead ends of nuclear power and fracking.”

ENDS


NOTES TO EDITORS

Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk