Do we need a Pollution Tax?

Do we need a Pollution Tax?

15 April 2021

The Green Homes Grant (GHG) scheme has been abandoned just six months after its launch. Boris Johnson’s promise to ‘build back greener’ had offered household grants of £5,000 – £10,000 to install insulation and low-carbon heating. The scheme was slow, bureaucratic and poorly administrated. Johnson and Rishi Sunak seem to have little or no interest in a Green agenda – so what will replace the GHG scheme? Do we need  a Pollution Tax?

Pulling the plug on the £1.5bn scheme leaves Britain without a plan for tackling one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions and pollution – heating.

According to the Committee on Climate Change, Britain uses 30% of its primary energy (gas, oil, coal, wind etc) for all our heat needs, half of which is used to heat Britain’s draughty homes accounting for 14 per cent of our carbon emissions.

And there is currently no incentive to make your home greener.

Relying on conscientious individuals to give up flying and use bicycles will never be enough to put society on a sustainable path.

Could a Pollution Tax be the answer?  

This would involve taxing any activity that uses the atmosphere ranging from burning fossil fuels to emitting methane gas, from leaky pipe networks to selling dangerous refrigerator gases that damage the ozone layer.

A national carbon tax is currently implemented in 25 countries around the world, including Ireland, Austria, Sweden, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Ukraine and Argentina.

John Westmacott, Managing Director at Land Energy said: ‘CO2 emissions are only part of the story. Methane accidentally leaked from fracking or conventional drilling has long been a major source of greenhouse gas – and methane is 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas per unit than CO2 but it has largely been ignored by the fossil fuel producers and has escaped any form of taxation’

Only 3 per cent of current environmental tax revenue is related to pollution taxes.

A UK-wide Pollution Tax would be designed to make people behave differently.

A Pollution Tax would make each and every one of us responsible for the amount of pollution we release into the environment. So, if your diesel off-road SUV is more polluting than an electric car, you pay for it. If your oil-based heating system produces more carbon than burning wood pellets, you pay tax on it.

A Pollution Tax would incentivise us to think responsibly about all aspects of how we use – and abuse – the atmosphere, household by household.

How much pollution are you causing?