Select Committee on Environmental Audit Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum for the WWF-UK


  WWF, the global environment network, welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into the Pre Budget Report 2000 (PBR). WWF has long supported the use of financial instruments as a means of achieving environmental objectives, provided they are part of a broader package of measures including incentives for positive action. In our view, the polluter pays principle must become a fundamental feature of the tax system and we would like to see further environmental tax measures in future budgets.

  In its recently published climate change programme1 the Government estimates that greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector will rise by 20 per cent on 1990 levels by 2010 and 33 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020. It is clear that urgent action is needed to tackle emissions from the transport sector if the UK is to meet it's emission reduction targets and be in a position to make the deeper cuts needed in the future.

  Overall, WWF is concerned that the measures announced in the PBR relating to transport will do nothing to reduce the amount of road traffic and may result in an increase in CO2 emissions. Despite recent fuel price increases, road transport costs remain relatively cheap. We would draw the committee's attention to Box 6.4 of the PBR documentation (Cm 4917) which shows the relationship between the cost of transport and disposable income. The graph shows that whilst the costs of all motoring (including road) have fallen since 1974, the costs of bus and rail travel have risen dramatically. In addition figures from the recent Family Expenditure Survey2 show that the real costs of motoring per vehicle have not increased since 1970. If the Government is serious about encouraging people to use the alternatives to road transport then it is clear that these trends will have to change.

  WWF made recommendations to the Government as to the measures it would like to have seen introduced in the PBR 2000. This submission is attached.

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