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Chancellor “has shied away from taking real action” on diesel in Budget

The Chancellor Philip Hammond has outlined the details of his autumn Budget to MPs in the Commons.

Under his plans from April 2018:

  • new diesel cars will go up one Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) band in their first-year rate
  • the existing Company Car Tax diesel supplement will increase by 1 percentage point

ClientEarth clean air lawyer Alan Andrews said: “The Chancellor has shied away from taking real action. While we welcome the changes to Vehicle Excise Duty, they do not go anywhere near far enough. An extra twenty pounds for a new car is not going to put anyone off buying a diesel car. The Chancellor has squandered a golden opportunity to send a strong message to drivers and manufacturers to ditch diesel.

“He has also failed to get on the side of drivers by standing up to the car industry. Having helped get us into this mess, it is high time they helped get us out of it. In Germany, automakers are contributing a quarter of a billion euros to a clean air fund but in the UK they are getting off scot free while taxpayers shoulder the cost of cleaning the air.

“There has been no progress on a diesel scrappage scheme which is needed to help drivers and businesses who will be hit with diesel charges when clean air zones are introduced in cities across the country.”

Plastic pollution

As expected, Hammond also announced a government focus on reducing plastic pollution. He told MPs “The UK led the world on climate change agreements and is a pioneer in protecting marine environments. And I want us now to become a world leader in tackling the scourge of plastic littering our planet and our oceans.

“With the Environment Secretary , I will investigate how the tax system and charges on single-use plastic items can reduce waste. We cannot keep our promise to the next generation to build an economy fit for the future unless we ensure our planet has a future.”

ClientEarth wildlife lawyer Alice Puritz said: “The Chancellor’s announcement is a step in the right direction to help reduce the amount of plastic in our environment. This is absolutely crucial given the extent of the problem on land, in our oceans and ultimately for our health.

“When plastic bottles, bags and other single-use plastics enter our oceans, they cause serious damage to fish, seabirds and other wildlife. If these products are eaten by sea life, plastic particles and potentially dangerous chemicals can be passed up the food chain to us.

“We need to make sure that new policies also focus on the producers and retailers of plastics, and not just consumers alone. Any revenues collected from this new charge should be used to clean up the environment from all plastics, and help develop greener alternatives.”

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Genevieve Perron-Migneron

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