Deputy Prime Minister launches Carbon Trust

John Prescott has launched the new body to promote research and development and make up to £200 million available over the next 2 years helping businesses invest in low carbon technologies.

The new trust, “a key part of the UK climate change programme” was launched on 20 March by the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott and Trust Chairman, Ian McAllister and will be funded by the proceeds of the climate change levy (see related feature).

The Carbon Trust will accelerate the take-up of low carbon technologies and practices by business, including process and manufacturing industry, commerce and business transport, as well as the public sector. The overall aim of the Trust will be to work with business, public bodies, Government and the research community to help the UK move towards a sustainable, lower-carbon economy. Over the next three years the Trust will plough around £100 million of Climate Change Levy receipts back in to research, development and integrated business support programmes. Seventeen million pounds will also be made available from the existing DETR Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme and a new £70 million Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme beginning on April. The scheme is designed to support business investment in energy efficient technology and is expected to include 1200 energy efficient technologies.

In the short term the Carbon Trust will concentrate on helping business save energy and money from the cost of the climate change levy while in the longer term it will develop the UK’s capacity to meet the problems of climate change, considering not only commercial and technological factors but wider socio-economic factors hindering the move towards a low carbon economy, DETR says.

“The Carbon Trust will help business save energy and support new low carbon technologies,” Prescott said. “It will also bring together business, Government, researchers, consumers and non-Government organisations to develop a new strategic vision of a low carbon future.”

Citing the Trust’s part in CO2 savings, which the government recently upgraded to cutting by 23% by 2010, Prescott said it would help address longer term challenges. “Moving to a low carbon economy is essential to protect the environment. It is also essential to our future competitiveness. There are major gains in store for the UK if we can shape the emerging low carbon technology market,” he said.

Turning to another area where Government is taking measures to tackle climate change, John Prescott added that he expected the Government’s 10-Year Plan for Transport (see related story) to reduce congestion on the roads and cut CO2 emissions by 1.6 million tonnes, in addition to the 4 million tonnes expected to be saved by the voluntary agreement with car manufacturers. “Already we are seeing traffic now growing at a much slower rate than the economy. Provisional figures for 2000 show traffic grew by only 0.3%, or 0.7% after allowing for the effect of the September fuel shortages, while GDP grew by more than 3%,” he said.

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