Philip Hammond and Michael Gove set to CLASH in Cabinet row over strict green targets

Posted on Nov 1 2018 - 5:58am by admin

Environmental Secretary Michael Gove unveiled his 25 year environment plan in January, which seeks to improve air and water quality, protect plant and animal habitats, and ensure a clean and green Britain by 2043.

The Environment Secretary is nevertheless reportedly seeking to enshrine a number of these targets in law, which would place legally binding restrictions on businesses.

One Treasury minister criticised Mr Gove’s plans, telling The Sun: “Gove will push for all sorts of new legal targets for his 25 year plan, but Philip is determined to stop as many as possible.

“There are better ways of achieving this.

“We must maintain flexibility and not impose any unnecessary burdens on business.”

Chancellor Philip Hammond has already signalled his resistance towards Mr Gove’s green targets, by refusing to implement a so-called “latte levy” on disposable coffee cups in his Budget on Monday.

The levy, first proposed by the Environmental Audit Committee, would implement a 25p tax on the price of each cup of coffee in a bid to encourage people to use reusable alternatives.

The proposal was in particular made to try and tackle to country’s approximate 2.5billion cups which are being disposed of each year.

Mr Hammond nevertheless rejected the tax during his Budget speech on Monday, and warned a simple levy would not catalyse a shift from disposable to reusable cups.

He said: “A tax in isolation would not, at this point, deliver a decisive shift from disposable to reusable cups.”

Mary Creagh, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, subsequently warned that growing disputes between the Treasury and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) were cause for concern.

She said: “Tension between DEFRA and the Treasury will worry everybody who fears another race to the bottom on protections for our air, water and beaches.

“We must not return to the 1970s when Britain was the dirty man of Europe.”

However, DEFRA dispelled rumours of a rift with the Treasury, stating: “We have always had a very collaborative relationship with the Treasury, which we hope to continue.”

The Chancellor also signalled some regard for DEFRA’s green targets, by introducing a new tax on the manufacture and import of plastic packing which contains less than 30 percent of recycled plastic.

Speaking the House of Commons, Mr Hammond said: “Billions of disposable plastic drink cups, cartons, bags and other items are used every year in Britain.

“Convenient for consumers, but deadly for our wildlife and our oceans.

“Where we cannot achieve reuse, we are determined to increase recycling.”

He reiterated the Government’s ambition to become a world leader in tackling the “scourge of plastic littering on our planet and our oceans”, and stated that his new tax would help “transform the economics of sustainable packaging”.

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