UK told to put green issues at heart of post-pandemic recovery
UK car and home heating taxes should be increased and environmental issues placed at the heart of any economic recovery following the coronavirus crisis, senior government advisers said on Thursday.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) said in its annual report to parliament that the global pandemic had given ministers a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" of a "green recovery".
"COVID-19 has shown that planning for systemic risks is unavoidable," said Julia King, who chairs the CCC's adaptation committee. "We have warned repeatedly that the UK is poorly prepared for the very serious impacts of climate change, including flooding, overheating and water shortages. Now is the moment to get our house in order."
The committee, an independent body, advised bringing forward the date for ending sales of new conventional cars by three years to 2032, and increasing petrol prices. It also recommended considering increasing the tax on gas for home heating. Other recommendations included a call to make it easier for people to walk and cycle, and putting in place better national broadband to make it easier to work from home.
Britain has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make an announcement on environmental policies in the next few weeks. A government spokesman said: "We agree with the committee that tackling climate change should be at the heart of our economic recovery."