UK Environmental Trade Association Raises Concerns on More Cuts in Environmental Budgets
Jul 06 2013
George Osborne announced £11.5 billion of Whitehall cuts recently with the Department of Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) receiving another combined cut of £137 million for the financial year 2015/2016.
DEFRA received a 10% cut, on top of a previous 30% cut back in 2010, and DECC received an 8% cut, causing grave concerns to be expressed by the Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), which suggested that this is further sign that the Government is moving away from environmental protection in favour of economic growth, not fully recognising that green investment is good for the economy.
The Chancellor has suggested that "while recovery from such a deep recession can never be straightforward, Britain is moving out of intensive care - and from rescue to recovery". Despite this Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, reported that the country is seeing the slowest recovery in 100 years with growth at only 1.1% but EIC (UK) reported that the cuts threaten future growth in the environmental technology and services sector has seen historical growth of 4.7% in recent years. EIC has acknowledged that the government has increased investment in innovative energy projects and up to £430 million specifically for the Renewable Heat Incentive, which EIC has welcomed.
Michael Lunn, Director of Policy and Public Affairs for the Environment Industries Commission said "A good environment equals a good economy. The Chancellor needs to understand that the relationship between the environment and the economy is positive and not a threat to growth, that is, improving the environment also improves the economy. Countries with good environments have better economies than those with polluted environments".
Mr Lunn added that "The UK still has a lot of work to do to clean up air pollution specifically NOX and PM emissions within our cities, this is costing our economy between £16-20 billion per year in health costs . In addition, companies could be saving £23 billion a year by using resources such as energy, water and materials more efficiently and generating less waste. These two examples are huge opportunities for the Chancellor to help reduce the deficit".
Government officials have argued that much of the savings will come from efficiencies and departmental under-spend, insisting there will be a limited impact on frontline services. But EIC has concerns that important expertise is being loss across government, with only two people being left in DCLG looking after brownfield development. But Government officials have argued that much of the savings will come from efficiencies and departmental under-spend, insisting there will be a limited impact on frontline services.
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