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New climate change programme sets out UK agenda for action domestically and internationally

Defra : 28 March, 2006  (Company News)
An ambitious programme to tackle climate change domestically and to secure agreement on action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions was published by the Government and devolved administrations today.
The UK has one of the best records of any country in tackling greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Change Programme builds on the UK's position leading the world in promoting global action on climate change setting out policies and priorities for action in the UK and internationally.

The measures to reduce emissions target every sector of the economy and include:

- A stricter emissions cap for industry;
- Measures to encourage the uptake of biofuels in petrol;
- Tighter building regulations;
- Measures to improve household energy efficiency;
- A renewed emphasis on encouraging and enabling the general public, businesses and public authorities to help achieve the Government's targets and
- Increased levels of microgeneration

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett said:

'This ambitious programme sets out our plans for tackling climate change at global, national and individual level. All three are essential. Climate change is a global problem that needs global solutions. But we must act now to meet our commitments. This programme contains a package of far-reaching measures that will affect all the major sectors and sources of UK emissions.

'But it is not the last word. There is more that government can and will do to meet the target. Further contributions could be made by the Energy Review, a review of measures to improve the sustainability of existing building and other policies over the coming years.'

The Programme is expected to reduce the UK's emissions of greenhouse gases to 23-25 per cent below base year levels and reduce the UK's carbon dioxide emissions to 15-18 per cent below 1990 levels by 2010. The new policies in the Programme will reduce carbon emissions by some 7-12Mt by 2010.

This takes the Government close to its domestic target of a 20 per cent reduction by 2010. Higher than anticipated levels of economic growth and the recent rises in global energy prices which have altered the relative prices of coal and gas have led to increased emissions and made the target more challenging. The Review addresses this.

Progress will be assessed more regularly and frequently. From next year, the Government will report annually to Parliament on progress at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its future work programme. It will also build on this, and consider other aspects of recent proposals for the introduction of 'carbon budgeting'.

The draft National Allocation Plan for the second phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme works on a 'cap and trade' basis. Industry is allocated emissions 'allowances' (equivalent to a tonne of CO2) which can be traded. This encourages companies which can reduce emissions to do so cheaply and sell their unused allowances.

The draft plan for second phase of this scheme is published today. It will save between 3-8m tonnes of carbon in 2010 (11-29Mt CO2), depending on the final figures for the total quantity of allowances.

Business measures

The Climate Change Levy of companies will increase in line with inflation with effect from 1 April, 2007.

The Carbon Trust's scheme for small and medium businesses will receive an additional 5million funding to allow for a significant expansion. This comes on top of the 15million of funding announced by the Chancellor in his 2005 Pre-Budget Report.

Household and personal actions

As announced in the Budget, over the next two years 20million will finance a major new initiative to strengthen consumer demand for energy efficiency, working closely with energy suppliers, local authorities and others to promote and incentivise energy efficiency measures in households. These measures such as loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and condensing boilers will save an additional 0.3-0.6Mt of carbon in 2010 (1-2MtCO2).

Energy suppliers will carry out an extra 250,000 subsidised installations of home insulation over the next two years, saving 35,000 tonnes of carbon and reducing annual bills by around 20m.

There will also be a pilot scheme for the use of 'smart meters' to enable consumers to monitor their energy use and what measures are effective in reducing it, co-financed with energy companies.

Working in partnership with major retailers and the Energy Saving Trust voluntary schemes will be introduced in the retail sector to encourage the purchase of more energy efficient consumer electronics. Better product design will also be encouraged to tackle problems such as excessive energy use during 'stand by' mode in computers, televisions chargers, lighting and other products. These smaller appliances emit 1MtC a year when on standby, costing each household around 25 a year.

Continue to support the activities of the Energy Saving Trust, the Carbon Trust and the Climate Change Communications Initiative to raise awareness about climate change and the action individuals can take to help tackle it.

The Government is committed to leading by example in the way it manages sustainably its land and buildings. New strategic, stretching and outcome focused targets will be published later this summer for the sustainable management of the Government Estate. Targets will be introduced for climate change and energy.

Building sector :

A package of measures also being introduced in the building, household, public and local government sectors include:

A new planning policy statement setting out how the Government expects participants in the planning process to work towards the reduction of carbon emissions in the location, siting and design of new development with the creation of exemplar sustainable settlements in growth areas beginning with Northstowe in Cambridgeshire with 10,000 new homes built to very high environmental standards with quality local services to promote sustainable living.

Updated Building Regulations coming into force next month (April) to further raise the energy standards of new and refurbished buildings and help to improve compliance. Taking into account the changes in 2002 and 2005, there will be a 40 per cent improvement in energy efficiency standards for new buildings and the opportunity for householders moving into new homes to see a similar cut in the size of their fuel bills, saving 0.4Mt carbon (1.3Mt CO2).

The introduction of a Code for Sustainable Homes which presents the opportunity to achieve higher standards for energy and water efficiency and will provide clear information and advice for house purchasers and tenants on the sustainability of the homes they are proposing to buy or rent.

The introduction of Energy Performance Certificates for all buildings when they are constructed, sold or rented out to provide clear information on energy efficiency and advice on improvements.

Consideration of how to ensure that the local government performance framework will include an appropriate focus on action on climate change, sufficient to incentivise more authorities to reach the levels of the best.

Setting up a new revolving loan fund of 20m for the public sector, to invest in energy efficiency.

A new 4m local government best practice support programme, to be launched in 2006-7, which will aim to proactively benchmark the performance of local authorities on climate change and sustainable energy and target those who need the most help to raise their performance.

A review of measures to improve the sustainability of existing buildings to identify the role of possible further incentives, voluntary initiatives and regulations will be completed later this summer.

Continued action to upgrade the energy efficiency of social and rented homes and those in fuel poverty through the Warm Front and Decent Homes programmes.

New advice to stimulate the early replacement of inefficient boilers by those meeting tough standards in building regulations.


5 per cent of transport fuel sold in the UK will have to come from renewable sources by 2010 and this will save 1.6Mt carbon (6MT CO2).

The Chancellor last week announced further changes to the Vehicle Excise Duty and Company Car Tax to give consumers and businesses an even stronger signal to buy low carbon cars.

From April 1 a major cross-Government programme will offset all aviation emissions from official air travel, providing support for a range of overseas projects, developed through the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. This will offset some 0.5Mt of carbon dioxide over the next three years.
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