Britain’s laws on climate change that push up energy bills for millions of households have been spared, despite George Osborne’s plea for a reduction in expensive green regulations.
Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, said he would not scrap or water down the Climate Change Act, after a year-long review into reducing bureaucracy surrounding environmental laws.
The Act underpins all of the Government’s policies on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, from support for wind farms to higher road taxes for more polluting cars.
It costs up to £18 billion per year, the equivalent of £650 for every household, according to a government analysis.
Last year, all Whitehall departments were asked to look at scrapping laws in the Cabinet Office’s Red Tape Challenge, taking suggestions by the public into account.
The Chancellor has said he is “worried about the combined impact of the green policies adopted not just in Britain, but also by the European Union”.
He claims “endless social and environmental goals” mean “businesses will fail, jobs will be lost, and our country will be poorer”.
Mr Davey said yesterday that the Climate Change Act is an “example of essential legislation” and all its supporting regulations must remain unchanged.
His only concession is a consultation on reducing red tape for companies forced to pay for every ton of carbon dioxide they emit.
The move disappointed campaigners against the Act, who have so far collected 1,000 signatures calling for it to be repealed.
Yesterday, Roger Helmer MEP called for the act to be scrapped as it is a “catastrophically disproportionate response to an entirely speculative problem”.
Other high-profile opponents of the Act are Lord Lawson, the former chancellor, and Lord Turnbull, the former head of the Civil Service under Tony Blair.
Lord Turnbull claimed that the Act “imposes legal duties, regardless of what ever else other countries do, or do not do” and argued that the UK “can have only a minimal effect on the global warming outcome”.
Green groups expressed relief that the Act has been saved from the review. However, they fear that 53 environmental regulations relating to pollution, contamination and waste will be scrapped.