Chief Policy Advisor Martin Baxter says the environmental headlines from the Chancellor’s Spring Statement are welcome, but arguably don’t go far enough.

IEMA has responded to the major environment and sustainability themes announced the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement. Speaking this afternoon, Chief Policy Advisor Martin Baxter said:

“We weren’t bracing ourselves for any huge surprises today, so the fact that air quality and tackling single use plastics are the environmental headlines is arguably reassuring given they are high on the public news and political agendas. We’re pleased to see investments in critical areas, however the £20 million R&D fund promised to businesses and universities to reduce the impact of single use plastics will not stretch far. Future levies which catalyse consumer behaviour change will likely have a more significant impact”.

“The call for evidence on the impact on non-agricultural vehicles on urban air quality will be highly relevant to construction. IEMA will work with environment and sustainability professionals in this sector to respond.”

“The focus on training and skills is important, and the proposed roll out of new T Level qualifications is critical in ensuring the UK can bridge the skills gap which currently threatens productivity and resilience – an issue where IEMA has campaigned for action for several years.”

“We were disappointed that the Chancellor didn’t take the opportunity to begin the process of evaluating the potential impact of changes in the UK’s vehicle fleet. The Industrial Strategy places significant emphasis on electric and low-emission vehicles, which has potentially significant impacts on fiscal revenues. The role of environmental taxation in driving behaviour change is important, Government needs to plan over the long-term when such taxation is successful in achieving its objectives.”


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