Thursday, December 07, 2006

Brown's Pale Green Pre-Budget Report

It's a tentative step, just a small one, but nevertheless a step forward. Gordon Brown has said the environment must be at the heart of economic policy and that it is the government's aim to make London the world's leading centre for carbon trading.

In the Chancellor's pre-budget report: he has increased air passenger duty to £10 a seat (£80 if you fly business long haul), raised petrol duty by 1.25 pence, promised stamp duty exemption on zero-emmission new builds, and consultation is promised on energy audits and cheap loan availability for energy efficient house renovations. The new-build "green homes" will prove a massive incentive to developers and it is expected to prove popular with the house buyer.

But he ignored calls for penal road taxes on the most polluting cars and did not bring back automatic above-inflation petrol price rises or agree to set annual emission cut targets. He wants a country, as he said recently, which is "pro-growth and pro-green". We await to hear what deeper green leadership he will demonstrate in this regard.

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