Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) have recently concluded the sustainability investigation, and found the Treasury’s short term aims are clouding the long-term outlook, potentially harming the UK’s direction which will increase future costs and harm investor confidence.
It thinks the Treasury is not doing enough to encourage departments to work together on environmental issues such as air quality, de-carbonisation, energy and resource efficiency.
UK Government have made decisions to cancel the £1bn carbon capture and storage (CCS) competition and scrap the zero carbon homes policy. The committee is now urging the government to introduce a new plan for CCS this year as it could potentially cost the UK an additional £30b to meet 2050 carbon targets without the technology.
The audit states it has been fairing “comparatively expensive and glamorous” low carbon technologies like offshore wind, wave, tidal and nuclear than cheaper alternatives such as onshore wind and energy efficiency.
EAC Chair Mary Creagh MP said: “The Treasury is highly influential and uniquely placed to ensure the whole of government works to promote sustainability but we have seen considerable evidence that it fails to do this. The Treasury tends not to take full account of the long term environmental costs and benefits of decisions which would reduce costs for taxpayers and consumers in the long run.”
With less than a week to go until the Autumn Statement, the EAC hopes the investigation will be taken seriously and encourages the spending review to provide longer term incentives and improved partnerships between all departments regarding environmental issues.