Ford Chairman to head showpiece body of government’s climate change programme

The chairman of the Ford motor company has been appointed by the government to head its Carbon Trust, designed to produce a range of programmes to promote low carbon research and development and help business invest in energy-efficient, low carbon technologies and practices.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott announced Ian McAllister’s appointment to head the body, which will start work in April, on 12 February. The trust aims to accelerate the take-up of low carbon technologies and measures by business, including the processing and manufacturing industry, commerce and business transport, as well as the public sector.

The Trust will operate across the UK and will bring together, for the first time in Europe, a fully integrated programme of incentives worth in total around £150 million annually, says the Department of the Environment, Trade and the Regions (DETR). This comprises £100m for a new Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme supporting energy saving technologies, up to £33m of recycled receipts from the Climate Change Levy (see related story) and £17m from the existing DETR Energy Efficiency Best Practice Programme. As part of the Climate Change Levy package of measures, which is opposed by both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats (see related story), the Trust is awaiting European state aids approval.

In the short term, the Carbon Trust will concentrate on helping business save energy and money and will also develop the UK’s capacity to meet the problems of climate change, considering not only commercial and technological factors but wider socio-economic factors which hinder our move towards a low carbon economy.

“I am delighted that Ian McAllister has agreed to take the role of Chairman of the Carbon Trust,” Prescott said. “He is one of the most influential businessmen in the UK today and Ford has one of the most innovative environmental programmes. Ford’s commitment should be a wake-up call for UK business to take the threat of climate change seriously. The Carbon Trust will take us down the road towards a sustainable low carbon economy. To stabilise carbon dioxide in the atmosphere we have to finds ways to make deep cuts in emissions without losing the benefits which the use of energy brings us. To meet this challenge we need to start now to bring forward new, innovative technologies, train the people to use them and develop new ways of thinking.”

McAllister will be supported by a Deputy Chairman, Ian Stephenson, Environment Director of Johnson Matthey Plc. Stephenson led the team that designed the Carbon Trust.

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