The Environment Industries Commission (EIC) wants the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme to be extended to thousands more organisations, and for carbon prices within the scheme to be boosted.
The calls are made in the EIC’s submission to the Treasury, aimed at influencing the Chancellor’s Budget announcements on 23 March.
It is one of several organisations, including the Aldersgate Group, that see the Budget as a critical opportunity for the coalition to make good on its green rhetoric after ten months in office.
The EIC, with some 230 member companies, wants the coverage threshold for the CRC scheme to be lowered from 6,000 megawatt hours of electricity a year to 3,000MWh.
It welcomes government plans for a Green Investment Bank (ENDS Report, February 2011), but wants this mandated to support projects across the UK environment industry.
“If the bank’s mandate is limited to the low-carbon sector the UK will risk forfeiting the huge investment opportunities that exist across the whole of the environmental sector,” says its submission.
The EIC also wants tax increment financing (TIF) to cover local environment infrastructure, including low- and zero-carbon buildings, brownfield land redevelopment and new waste infrastructure.
TIF works by enabling local councils to borrow money to finance new developments, with the loans secured using the future revenues from business rates brought in by those developments.
The EIC is also calling for pro-environment improvements to the Enhanced Capital Allowances Scheme, and changes to Land Remediation Relief aimed at boosting contaminated and derelict land remediation.
It wants the landfill tax escalator to remain above £80 per tonne beyond 2014, rising at least in line with inflation.
The documents quotes from speeches by chancellor George Osborne and prime minister David Cameron, made while they were in opposition, in which both called for pollution and waste to be priced “fairly” and “realistically”.
“We would very much hope that we now see evidence of this thinking in government,” says the EIC. “Rhetoric must be replaced by action both in the forthcoming budget and wider HM Treasury policy.”