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Campaign to Protect Rural England on the budget - "green around the edges"

May 3, 2009 10:00 AM

Commenting on the Budget statement by the Chancellor, Ben Stafford, Head of Campaigns at CPRE, said:

'This Budget contains some welcome green measures, although most are pretty limited in scale, reflecting the very tight financial straitjacket Mr Darling finds himself wearing. Much more ambition will be needed to deliver the green economy of the future.'

CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY

'The Government is right to focus on the energy-efficiency of our buildings as a top priority in the fight against climate change. So the £435 million announced in the Budget is welcome, if pretty modest, stuff.

'We also welcome the £535 million to support offshore wind, although how much of a boost this figure will give to the industry remains to be seen. Overall, the Government will have to come up with more ambitious proposals if it is to meet even the 34% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 set in its carbon budgets.

'And we hope that the £90 million allocated for preparatory studies on carbon capture and storage will be well spent; coal-fired power generation without CCS should be an environmental no-no.'

FUEL DUTY

'The Chancellor has shown courage, and done the right thing, by sticking to a 2p increase in fuel duty from September. But it's vital he uses the revenue to fund maintenance of local roads, and to support bus, cycling and walking routes. Money targeted in this way will deliver real green dividends, and boost rural communities.'

CAR SCRAPPAGE SCHEME

'We are disappointed at confirmation of the car 'scrappage' scheme. This will do little to help rural families that can barely afford to keep their current car on the road, let alone buy a new one. It is a shame that the Chancellor took this route, and spurned the chance to support community-run low carbon car clubs.'

VAT OPPORTUNITY MISSED

'Sadly, the Chancellor has again chosen to take no action to cut VAT on building repairs and renovations, despite being given a green light by the EU to do so. Making this cut, and levying VAT at 15% on building on greenfield land, could have boosted urban regeneration, while protecting our countryside from indiscriminate bulldozing by under-pressure developers.'