Government needs to aid development of state-of-the-art environmental solutions

Environment Industries Commission (EIC) Director Merlin Hyman is urging the Treasury to broaden the scope of the Government’s planned “Green Technology Challenge” so that it provides tax incentives to develop state-of-the-art environmental solutions.

In a letter to Treasury financial secretary Paul Boateng, Hyman writes: “We were disappointed that the Treasury announced in the Pre-Budget report [see related story] that the Green Technology Challenge will now be restricted to providing tax incentives for energy efficient technologies, clean fuels and vehicles – both these areas are already supported by the Treasury, and for reducing water use and improving water quality.”

The Green Technology Challenge was a flagship initiative of the 2001 Budget, billed as providing 100% first year capital allowances for mainstream industry investing in innovative environmental protection technologies (see related story).

The EIC has been campaigning, with support from mainstream industry and environmental groups, for the UK Government to provide fiscal incentives for mainstream industry to invest in improving environmental performance, following in the footsteps of various other EU countries. The EIC instances the Dutch government’s all-embracing scheme, which has been running since 1991 and provides incentives for technologies tackling environmental issues ranging from particulates and hydrocarbon pollutants in soil to dioxins and heavy metals in dust emissions.

Hyman concluded his letter by warning: “By restricting the Green Technology Challenge to just a few areas the Treasury will put the UK at a disadvantage with international competitors in the race to dominate the rapidly expanding world environmental technology and services market.”

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