British manufacturers have reacted angrily to the government’ s recent announcement that UK firms would have to hit higher targets for reducing carbon emissions than their EU or international competitors. They warn that the proposals will lead to higher production costs and further erosion of the UK’ s manufacturing base.
The Engineering Employers Federation (EEF), the manufacturers’ organisation, has condemned the government’ s decision, in its national allocation plan for implementing the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, to set a target of 16.3% for reducing carbon emissions, above the 12.5% demanded by Britain’ s Kyoto commitments. According to the EEF, the decision renders the UK alone in the EU in adopting a more aggressive reduction than required by the scheme.
‘This decision makes no sense, either for tackling climate change or for protecting the UK’ s manufacturing base,’ said Martin Temple, EEF Director General. ‘By setting the targets for reducing emissions higher than those in our competitor countries, government will simply add to the cost of manufacturing in the UK and potentially drive business away to other more competitive, but less efficient parts of the world, unconstrained by the Kyoto protocols.’
‘UK manufacturing already contributes heavily to measures designed to achieve our Kyoto commitments, including the Climate Change Levy, and higher power prices to subsidise renewable energy sources,’ added Temple. ‘With our manufacturing base under intense pressure in a global marketplace, the last thing we need is for our own government to be gold-plating by adding further unnecessary constraints.’
EEF has also criticised the government’ s failure to tackle what it describes as the largest and fastest growing contributors to climate change in the UK, the household and transport sectors, at the expense of industry, where carbon emissions are, as a result of existing measures, on a downward trend.