HC Deb 04 December 1995 vol 268 c16W
Ms Ruddock

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what procedures have been put in place by his Department to monitor the environmental impacts arising from the implementation of the Finance Act 1995; [246]

(2) if the Finance Act 1995 was (a) subject to and (b) modified on account of an environmental appraisal using the guidance contained in "Policy Appraisal and the Environment", produced by the Department of the Environment; and if he will publish the appraisal; [244]

(3) what alternative courses of action from those detailed in the Finance Act 1995 were considered in any environmental appraisal undertaken by his Department. [245]

Mr. Jack

[holding answer 22 November 1995]: The main measure in the Finance Act 1995 relevant to the environment was the real terms increase in road fuel duties enacted in sections 6 and 7.

It was announced in the March 1993 Budget that the Government's policy would be to increase fuel duties by at least 3 per cent. on average in real terms in future Budgets in order to help to restrain carbon dioxide emissions. In the November 1993 Budget, this was raised to 5 per cent. Raising duties in this way will make a significant contribution to the UK programme for limiting CO2 emissions in line with our commitments under the UN convention on climate change.

Emissions of CO2 are subject to regular monitoring by the Department of the Environment. It is not normal practice to disclose options considered, but not pursued, in the course of preparing the Budget.

The 1995 Finance Bill largely related to measures announced in the 1994 Budget. This year's Budget contained other environmental measures: a further 5 per cent. real increase in fuel duties, the definitive arrangements for the new landfill tax, reduced duties on liquid petroleum gas and compressed natural gas, which are relatively clean road fuels, and an additional increase in the duty on super unleaded petrol, which causes higher levels of pollutants such as benzene. These measures will be enacted in the 1996 Finance Bill. The Chancellor also announced that the Government would look into ways of using vehicle excise duty to encourage the use of low emission vehicles.

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