Tories freeze fuel duty, promise action on plastic

| 5th October 2018
Traffic jam: the Tories are freezing fuel duty for the ninth year in a row

Traffic jam: the Tories are freezing fuel duty for the ninth year in a row

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The Conservative party conference discussed taxes on vehicle fuel, the upcoming waste strategy and the future of chemicals legislation after Brexit.

This fuel duty freeze shows May is still failing to take her obligation to bring air pollution to within legal limits seriously.

Fuel duty will be frozen for the ninth consecutive year, prime minister Theresa May told delegates at the Conservative party conference this week.

“For millions of people, their car is not a luxury. It’s a necessity,” she said. The freeze will be confirmed in the chancellor’s budget later this month.

The move was criticised by campaigners. Morten Thaysen, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, said: "This fuel duty freeze shows May is still failing to take her obligation to bring air pollution to within legal limits seriously.”

The government should instead incentivise electric vehicles and ensure cheap and reliable public transport, he added.

Chemicals trade

Meanwhile, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair of hard-Brexit group the European Research Group, told a fringe event that the UK should scrap “non-tariff barriers” to trade after Brexit such as the REACH chemicals regulations.

The regulations require companies who manufacture or import chemicals into the EU to register their properties and risks with a central agency. Mogg said that this increases the cost of chemicals and could put off companies from outside the EU exporting to the UK after Brexit.

Kate Young, Brexit and chemicals campaigner at NGO CHEM Trust, tweeted: “It is vital that a post-Brexit Britain continues to have an effective system to protect people and the environment from hazardous chemicals.”

This was best achieved by the UK remaining in REACH, she said.

Meanwhile, both environment minister Therese Coffey and environment secretary Michael Gove said that the forthcoming waste strategy would contain radical proposals on plastic, such as expanding policies to impose the environmental cost of packaging on to producers, and tax use of virgin plastics.

This Author

Catherine Early is a freelance environmental journalist and chief reporter for the Ecologist. She was formerly the deputy editor of the Environmentalist. She can be found tweeting at @Cat_Early76

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