William Eichler 22 August 2019

Whitehall carbon emission target ‘undeliverable’, MPs warn

MPs have warned the Government that there are no policies in place to deliver the net-zero carbons emissions target by 2050.

The Science and Technology Committee welcomed the Government’s recent decision to strengthen its long-term emissions reduction target to eliminate all emissions by 2050.

However, it warned that the UK was ‘not even on course’ to meet its existing legally binding targets for 2023 to 2032.

The committee’s report highlights 10 key areas in which Whitehall policy to support the implementation of low-carbon technology has been delayed, cut back or undermined carbon reductions.

These areas include the reduction of the 'plug-in grant' for low-emissions cars and its complete removal for other low-emissions cars, and the nine-year freeze of fuel duty.

Following the cancellation of the 'zero-carbon homes' policy in 2015, the Government also said that it would consult on changes to building regulations in 2019 to improve energy efficiency.

However, the committee’s report points out that no consultation has been launched.

It also highlights the impact business rates changes in 2017 have had on measures to reduce emissions.

Business rates on solar panels have increased between three- and eight-fold, equating to thousands of pounds in additional costs each year for schools, SMEs and hospitals.

‘The worrying effects of climate change, such as heatwaves, wildfires and flooding are already occurring at an alarming rate and will have a huge impact on future generations,’ said Norman Lamb, chair of the Science and Technology Committee.

‘Throughout our inquiry, it was worrying to hear that although the Government may be ambitious when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, it is not putting the policies in place which are needed to achieve those targets.

‘We need to see the Government put its words into actions.’

A Government spokesperson said: ‘From transport to heating, electricity to agriculture, we are working to put in place the right measures to help us tackle global warming. We welcome the committee’s report and will consider its findings.’

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