Chancellor Alistair Darling has delivered the UK Government’s 2008 Budget to parliament. Key proposals include:
- The introduction of legislation to charge for single-use plastic carrier bags in 2009 if voluntary action has not gone far enough to reduce their use
- £26 million funding for Green Homes Service in 2008 and extension in the use of SMART Meters over the next five years.
- All new non-domestic buildings to be zero carbon from 2019, in addition to the Government’s current obligation to ensure that all new homes are carbon neutral.
- The UK Government will ask the European Commission to revise the targets for car fuel emissions – from 130gm/km to 100g/km.
- Reform of vehicle excise duty in 2009 encourage manufacturers and consumers respectively to produce and buy ‘greener’ vehicles, with the introduction of different ‘bands’ based on levels of emissions.
- From 2010, new cars that emit less than the proposed EU standard of 130gm/km will be exempt from car tax in the first year. More polluting cars will pay higher costs in the first year of ownership.
- The Government plans to explore options for the introduction of road-pricing, to reduce congestion and the amount of traffic on the roads, with a project out for tender. Results to be announced in 2009.
An increase in fuel duty, in part aiming to tackle the environmental consequences of heavier traffic, was postponed until October.