Industry faces energy price increases of up to 70 per cent as a result of new ‘green taxes’ imposed by the Government. Studies by the Energy Intensive Users Group, which represents industries such as chemicals and steel, show that the extra costs are so high that many companies may be tempted to move to countries that do not have such extreme environmental laws.
The group fears that a study by the Department of Energy into the impact of climate-change laws on energy prices for industry will attempt to downplay the impact of the new taxes.
The DoE study is due to be published in the autumn.
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne last week boasted that no other country had binding environmental targets as ambitious as Britain.
‘In 15 years, our net emissions will be half what they were in 1990,’ he said.
The Department of Energy last year admitted that environmental policies had already increased average costs for non-domestic users by 20 per cent. This will rise to 28 per cent by 2015 and 43 per cent by 2020. But those figures do not take into account environmental measures that are in the pipeline.
Business pays proportionately more for its electricity because it is subject to tax through the climate change levy.
Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, warned that the Government’s estimates for the effect of their policies on domestic fuel bills were highly unrealistic and ‘need to be taken with a bucket full of salt’.
He said the figures were unreliable as they made ‘utterly implausible assumptions’ about the benefits of energy efficiency measures such as lagging.