Environment tax take rises, reports ONS
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New figures from the office for national statistics (ONS) show that environment-related taxes have increased over the past two decades, peaking at £43 billion in 2013.
According to environmental accounts published by the ONS, revenue from environmentally related taxes in 2013 represented 7.5% of total revenue from taxes and social contributions in the UK, which is equivalent to 2.7% of gross domestic product (GDP). Environment-related taxes include levies on petrol and diesel, motor vehicle duties paid by businesses and households, air passenger duty and landfill tax.
Over £14 billion (32%) raised from such taxation was ploughed back into environment protection programmes, such as waste management, air and climate change protection and the protection of biodiversity, in 2012, says the ONS.
The latest accounts also reveal that average air temperature across the UK in 2012 was 0.9ºC lower than in 2011, which led to an increase in total energy consumption of 1.2% and a rise of 3.2% in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Emissions rose despite slower growth in GDP and goes against the downward trend that has seen emissions fall consistently since the mid-1990s, says the ONS. It reports that cheaper coal imports, low carbon prices and more expensive gas have changed the balance of energy generation in the UK and contributed to an increase GHG emission.
The ONS data also shows that UK oil and gas extraction continues to decline. Between 2000 and 2012, the quantities extracted fell by 64.6% and 64.1% respectively with available indigenous resources hitting their lowest level in 2012. The fall in UK oil and gas extraction has been partly offset by continued growth in renewables and energy-from-waste sources, which the ONS says has increased over the last decade and represented 4.5% of total energy consumption in 2012.
The latest data from Decc shows electricity generation from renewable sources increased by 24% between July 2012 and June 2013, and the upward trend puts the UK on course to meet its 15% renewables target by 2020.
The Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted Southern Water for thousands of illegal raw sewage discharges that polluted rivers and coastal waters in Kent, resulting in a record £90m fine.
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New jobs that help drive the UK towards net-zero emissions are set to offer salaries that are almost one-third higher than those in carbon-intensive industries, research suggests.