Environment a focus of UK Budget Statement

The UK chancellor outlined several environmental priorities for the government in his Spring Statement


Joe McGrath

The UK’s chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond has announced plans for a series of consultations which will shape government environmental policy in the years to come.

In the 2019 Spring Budget Statement on Wednesday 13 March 2019, the chancellor outlined plans for consultations on an obligatory carbon offset scheme for airlines, a small business energy efficiency scheme and skeleton proposals to increase the proportion of green energy that the UK produces.

He said: “The UK is already leading the world, reducing the carbon intensity of our economy faster than any other G20 country, with ambitious and legally binding targets for the future.

“We will publish proposals to require an increased proportion of green gas in the grid, advancing decarbonisation of our mains gas supply. We will help small businesses cut their carbon emissions and their energy bills, publishing a call for evidence on the Business Energy Efficiency Scheme that I announced in the budget.”

Hammond said that the UK faced environmental concerns beyond climate change, however. And warned that sustainability issues can have a dramatic impact on the global economy.

He added: “Now, for the first time in 60 million years, the number of species worldwide is in sustained mass decline.

“The UK’s 1,500 species of pollinators deliver an estimated £680 million annual value to our economy – so there is an economic, as well as an environmental, case for protecting the diversity of the natural world.”

He explained that the UK government plans to use the forthcoming Environmental Bill to “mandate biodiversity net gain” and to ensure that new housing developments are not completed at the expense of the natural world.

“Later this year, the UK government will launch a comprehensive global review of the link between biodiversity and economic growth to be led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, Emeritus Professor of Economics at Cambridge.”

To read the full statement, click here.

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