The government has announced it is to invest more than £900 million in nuclear fusion, space and electric vehicles (EVs), alongside a raft of other green measures.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s Budget 2020 announcement has promised the Conservative Party will “get things done” and “deliver on promises made to the people”.
He said: “We promised to deliver green growth and protect the environment, this Budget gets it done.”
Although fuel duty will remain frozen despite its environmental impacts, the Chancellor has committed to “increase taxes on pollution” by freezing climate change levies on electricity and raising tax rates for gas from April 2022.
He has also promised to “support the most energy-intensive industries to transition to net zero” by extending the climate change agreement scheme for a further two years and has pledged to introduce a new plastic packaging tax from April 2022 – this will charge manufacturers and importers £200 per tonne on packaging made of less than 30% recycled plastic, increasing the use of recycled plastic packaging by 40% and saving nearly 200,00 tonnes of carbon emissions.
The Budget announcement also discussed the red diesel scheme, which currently allows selected users to pay a special duty of just over 11p per litre, compared to around 58p per litre for other users – the Chancellor branded the scheme a “£2.4 billion tax break for pollution” that has “hindered the development of cleaner alternatives” and promised to abolish it in two years’ time.
Agriculture will retain the tax relief as will a number of other sectors including domestic heating and fishing.
The announcement also commits to:
- More than doubling research and development investment in the UK’s Energy Innovation programme to £1 billion.
- Making it cheaper to buy low emission vehicles, cutting taxes on clean transport. investing £300 million in tackling nitrogen dioxide emissions in towns and cities and investing £500 million to support the rollout of rapid EV charging hubs.
- Supporting woodlands and peat bogs and spending £640 million for a new Nature for Climate fund, which would plant around 30,000 hectares of trees and restore 35,000 hectares of peatland over the next five years.
- Investing at least £800 million to establish two or more carbon capture and storage clusters by 2030, which would be able to store millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases.
Mr Sunak stated: “Green jobs, better flood defences, cheaper electric vehicles, innovative new technology. We promised to protect our environment, we’re getting it done.”