The Footprint Trust has welcomed the news that pensioners will get winter fuel allowance increase in 2008-09 to £250 for the over 60’s, and to £400 for the over 80’s. However, their spokesman went on to say that they would favour more investment in energy efficiency to reduce fuel bills in the first place.
“The government-funded Warm Front scheme needs to be more generous and not penalise elderly and young people who are not in receipt of benefits. At the moment a grant of up to £2,700 is available to upgrade heating systems and insolate homes. In many cases this sum is not enough and the homeowner has to find up to £500. This point has been made to DEFRA by agencies on the Island.”
Said Ray Harrington-Vail
“It is important that ‘green taxes’ are used for environmental improvements. Energy conservation should be a number one priority for homes and businesses. It reduces carbon dioxide emissions, pollution in general and saves money.”
“ More money should have been made available for solar and other renewable energy systems for public and private buildings under the Low Carbon Buildings programme, again paid for out of ‘green taxes.’
It is important that businesses and individuals also look at ways of using fuel more efficiency. Britain will soon be heavily dependent on imported oil and gas, as North Sea reserves dry up. The costs will continue to rise, as oil becomes a rarer resource. We need to start implementing energy saving measures for transport rather than keep moaning about increased costs. It is important that they follow the Golden Rules of EcoDriving*
The Trust welcomed the new allowance for certain ‘thermal insulation’ under Capital Allowances for businesses relating to buildings. Energy efficient lighting systems, insulation and solar shading are included under this heading.
The Trust was pleased to see that businesses were being rewarded for choosing company cars with low CO2 emissions.
In the Budget the government has announced its intent to legislate if retailers do not take positive action in the next year to encourage a shift away from single use carrier bags. If there is insufficient progress a levy will be charged. Any funds raised will be directed to environmental charities. The Government has confirmed that any donations made by retailers to charities will attract tax relief in the normal way. The Trust is pleased at this statement. Whilst carrier bags make up a small part of the waste problem – this is all about changing perceptions and moving away from a ‘disposable society.’
*The golden rules of ecodriving
Ecodriving is adapted to modern engine technologies and means smooth and safe driving at lower engine revolutions. Ecodriving is easy to learn and it has been shown that written information itself has a substantial impact on driving behaviour, on safety and on fuel consumption without increasing travel time.
There are five basic rules to follow.
· Shift up as soon as possible
· Maintain a steady speed
· High gear and low engine RPM
· Anticipate traffic flow
· Decelerate smoothly