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Brown's Green Homes Plan - Chancellor challenged to put Climate Change at heart of next week's Budget

Friends of the Earth has welcomed Gordon Brown's promise to help households cut their carbon dioxide emissions. The environmental campaign group said that he must now put carbon-cutting measures at the heart of his Budget next week.

The environmental campaign group also called on the Chancellor to ensure that the Government's climate change law - details of which will be unveiled tomorrow - leads to annual cuts in UK carbon dioxide emissions of at least three per cent each year.

Friends of the Earth director Tony Juniper said:
"We welcome the Chancellor's plans to make it easier and cheaper to cut their emissions. Basic energy efficiency measures are the most cost effective ways to tackle climate change. And they save people money too. The Chancellor must now put global warming at the heart of next week's Budget, and give his support to a strong climate change bill which cuts emissions every year."
"But green taxes are also needed. The Chancellor must make environmentally damaging activities, such as driving gas-guzzling cars and flying, more expensive. It is not a case of either green tax rises or green tax breaks. We need an intelligent combination to help make the UK a world leader in developing a low-carbon economy."

"We also welcome the Chancellor's recognition of the need for the reform of global institutions such as the World Bank and United Nations. We cannot tackle the environmental challenges unless we have bodies that are fit for purpose."
According to Government figures, 8.5 million homes have the potential for cavity wall insulation and 6.2 million need proper loft insulation. If all of these were insulated it would save 3.3 million tonnes of carbon annually. The UK's homes are responsible for 27 per cent of the UK's CO2 emissions.
The campaign group is calling for cuts in road tax for more of the most fuel efficient cars, a substantial increase for gas-guzzlers, and a package of measures that provides strong financial incentives help householders to save energy and cut emissions. This package will benefit the climate, meet social objectives, save businesses and households money, and create jobs.

More info at:
http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/cleaner_cars_greener_ homes.pdf
The Chancellor's Budgets have failed to tackle climate change to date: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/browns_ green_speech_climat_12032007.html
The environmental campaign group is calling for the Chancellor to introduce:

. £1.4 billion to fund a nation wide scheme of Council Tax rebates for household that install Cavity Wall or loft insulation.

. A Stamp Duty rebate to work alongside the home Energy Performance Certificates (to come into force on 1 June) to provide an incentive for home buyers to make their homes energy efficient with six months of purchase.

. A reduction of the rate of VAT charged on high environmental quality refurbishment of homes.

. A massive boost - to £1bn annually - for grants and other measures to finance a national roll out of renewable micro-generation across the public, commercial, home and not-for profit sectors. March's online grants for home renewable energy from the existing grants scheme, the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, ran out in 75 minutes.

. Cut Vehicle Excise Duty (VED, car tax) to zero for more of the least polluting cars (those in VED band B).

The campaign group is also calling tax rise on polluting activities:

. Air Passenger Duty and Fuel Duty escalators with the money raised spent on improving greener alternatives to car and air travel such as public transport.

. Rise in VED for new gas guzzlers to £2000 (and smaller rises for other polluting new cars).
Friends of the Earth has led the campaign for a new climate change law through The Big Ask climate campaign. The environmental campaign group is calling for the law to include mandatory annual cuts in UK carbon dioxide emissions of at least three per cent. The call has been backed by a wide cross-section of individuals and organizations including just under two thirds of MPs. More info:


A strong Bill will provide the framework for individual policy measures to cut emissions. http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/press_releases/government