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Key Environmental Announcements from the 2015 Budget

Monday, March 30, 2015

On the 18th March the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced his 2015 Budget, in what he called "a Budget that takes Britain one more big step on the road from austerity to prosperity".

Amongst the key points outlining the Government’s plans for public borrowing, pensions, health and education, there were a number of announcements on the environment within the Budget Statement.  However many sustainability professionals were left disappointed, with many believing Osborne brushed past some significant green issues investment whilst throwing his weight behind shale gas and other fossil fuels.  This included a £1.3 billion support or the North Sea Oil Industry and cuts to Petroleum Revenue Tax and supplementary charges for oil and gas

That said, the Budget did generate more positive news with regards to low emission vehicles, waste management and renewable energy.   

Here’s what you need to know around the key environmental points from the Budget 2015:

  • Negotiations will be opened on the financing for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon Project – a £1 billion project that would see a giant man-made lagoon developed to generate enough power to run 120,000 homes for 120 years.
  • £60 million of funding for a new ‘energy centre’ in Birmingham.  The Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) is a multimillion research hub which will build on the expertise of six leading midlands universities.
  • £100 million of funding for driverless cars which will be used to support pilot schemes and to build the necessary infrastructure to support autonomous vehicles.
  • Slower raises in company car tax for ultra-low emission vehicles from 2019-2020, whilst other car tax rates will be increased by 3% in the same period.
  • Financial support for the North Sea Oil Industry through a reduction in Petroleum Revenue Tax from 50% to 35% and a reduction in supplementary charges for oil and gas from 30% to 20%.  This is expected to amount to £1.3 billion in support for the Industry. 
  • Confirmation that Landfill Tax will continue to increase in line with the Retail Price Index from April 2016.  Landfill Tax will increase in April 2015 to £82.60 per tonne in line with the Retail Price Index and is expected to increase to £84.40 per tonne in April 2016.
  • A one-off funding of £4.2 million to the Environment Agency to tackle waste crime, such as littering and flytipping.
  • More than £16 million of funding towards a six-year defence programme that was announced in December 2014.  The funding aims to better protect more than 750 homes from flooding in the East of England.

The full Budget 2015 document is available to view here

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