Plans to force companies to declare the size of their greenhouse gas emissions have been put on hold and could even be abolished, the environment secretary will tell parliament this week, raising fresh questions over the government’s commitment to fighting climate change.
Caroline Spelman will say she has not made a decision on whether to introduce mandatory reporting requirements on companies’ carbon emissions, missing a deadline that has been in place for the last four years.
According to the Climate Change Act, passed in 2008, the environment secretary has to announce new rules requiring directors to report how much carbon is released by their company’s activities, or explain why she is not doing so.
Officials at the department have told the Financial Times Ms Spelman will issue a written statement saying she is not ready to introduce such rules as she has yet to decide what form they should take, or whether they should even be brought in at all. The announcement comes a year after she first launched a consultation into the matter, which laid out four alternative proposals.
Anthony Field, a senior officer at the UK arm of WWF, the environmental group, said: “It’s amazing that, after four years and with widespread public, political and business support for mandatory carbon reporting, the government still can’t make a decision.”
Environmentalists have for months accused David Cameron’s coalition of backsliding on its commitment to be “the greenest government ever” as economic priorities have increasingly appeared to take precedence over efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Mr Spelman’s expected statement on carbon reporting comes a week after George Osborne, the chancellor, used his Budget to announce a review and possible overhaul of the government’s carbon reduction commitment, which forces companies to pay for their emissions.