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Support for Green taxes from influential Commons Committee

August 8, 2006 3:01 PM

The Liberal Democrats have welcomed the backing of Green Taxes by the Commons Environmental Audit Committee. The Committee has said taxes on air travel and "gas guzzling" cars should be raised to cut greenhouse gas emissions. A new report criticises the Department of Transport for adopting a "fatalistic" attitude towards cutting emissions caused by increased travel and said transport is the only sector of the UK economy where carbon emissions have risen consistently since 1990.

Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat Environmental Spokesperson said "This is welcome backing for the use of green taxes in a way that changes our behaviour without raising overall taxation. The committee is right to back a hefty rise in vehicle excise duty to change the cars we buy, as research from the Energy Savings Trust has suggested and the Liberal Democrats have proposed. Green taxes have worked in the Nordic countries and they can work here too."

The Government have claimed raising air travel taxes would only hit poorer people. They were responding to a report from the Commons environmental audit committee who said carbon dioxide emissions from aviation are set to rise five-fold and that the government has a "fatalistic" approach to the problem. Chris Huhne commented "Ministers are talking nonsense about green taxes. Transport taxes such as a flight emissions tax or high Vehicle Excise Duty on new cars would not hit the less well off, because they do not drive gas guzzling cars or take regular flights. Yet the poorest in the world will be particularly hard hit by crop failures, drought and flooding if global warming continues."