An estimated 12 years to prevent severe effects of climate change and the government targeting ‘net zero’ carbon emissions wasn’t enough for climate change or renewable energy to earn a mention in the 2018 Budget.
During his speech, the last before Brexit, Chancellor Philip Hammond did support tree planting and the introduction of a tax on plastic packaging. However, no real support was shown to help homeowners make their day-to-day lives kinder on the environment.
After the government recently approached climate change experts for advice regarding a net zero carbon emissions target, it was a surprise to many that renewable energies, an effective route to decarbonisation, went unsupported.
This means that solar power, a clean route to energy generation, was left further in the shade after it was announced that the Feed-in Tariff, a government scheme that rewards homeowners with solar PV panels, would be ending in March 2019.
While renewable energy wasn’t mentioned, plastic waste was a big talking point. We’ve highlighted some of the key ‘green’ talking points from the 2018 Autumn Budget below.
Tax on Plastic Packaging
A new tax has been announced on the manufacture and import of plastic packaging that contains less than 30% recycled plastic.
Following on from the success of adding a 5p tax to plastic carrier bags, which has seen an 86% reduction in sales of plastic bags, it was being called for a similar tax on disposable coffee cups to be introduced. Known as the ‘latte levy’, this has been ruled out as it’s not seen as “effective in encouraging widespread reuse”.
£60 million is going to be spent on planting trees right across the country. This includes £10m to plant new trees on streets and in urban areas, while the other £50m will be used to purchase credits from landowners who plant woodland.
While this is a positive step towards making urban areas more ‘green’, it looks minute in comparison to the £30 billion set aside for roads and has received backlash from Green campaigners.
£20 million will be used to tackle plastic waste and increase recycling. Half of this total will be put towards researching and developing packaging materials and recycling processes. The remaining £10 million will be spent tackling plastics, increasing recycling while minimising litter by introducing new technologies such as smart bins.
Reaction to the 2018 Budget
There was inevitably lots of reaction to the 2018 Budget, especially from those conscious of the impact being made on the environment.
The Green Party
Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, felt that Philip Hammond must have “lost a whole section of his speech” as he failed to mention climate change:
“Two weeks ago, the world’s top scientists warned we have just 12 years to prevent climate catastrophe – so we urgently needed an emergency budget with major investment in green energy and jobs to protect the planet. That means not a single pound spent on climate-wrecking infrastructure, revolutionary funding for solar and wind power, and a major programme of insulation to make every home warm.
“So it’s unforgivable that Hammond failed to even mention climate change. He spent 500 times more on roads than on planting trees, lavishing almost £40 billion on locking us into our cars as public transport deteriorates.
“The chancellor should have cut bus and train fares, invested in more frequent and reliable services, made walking and cycling safe and simple, and made electric vehicles an affordable option for those who do need a car or van.”
How Renewable Energies Can Benefit Homeowners
Despite no mention of renewable energies in the 2018 Autumn Budget, they’re still an effective way of making your home more efficient and could even help you to lower your energy bills.
There are many different types of renewable energy from solar panels to air and ground source heat pumps, all of which harness energy to heat your home from different renewable sources.
Get to know more about renewable energy and find the right appliance for your home with our renewables advice.