Thursday 27 June 2019

Government will move towards carbon tax hike in the next Budget

 

Minister Richard Bruton also has plans to ban single-use plastic such as polystyrene food containers, cups and drinks containers. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
Minister Richard Bruton also has plans to ban single-use plastic such as polystyrene food containers, cups and drinks containers. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A new climate action plan to be announced by the Government will contain a series of measures aimed at forcing ordinary people to change their habits.

The Government is expected to lay the ground for hiking carbon tax at the next budget - a move they baulked at last October.

This will affect the price of petrol, diesel and home heating oil, as well as other products such as briquettes.

Aside from fuel increases, the motor industry is also likely to be hit with changes to the vehicle registration and motor tax systems.

Minister Richard Bruton also has plans to ban single-use plastic such as polystyrene food containers, cups and drinks containers.

Some retailers have argued that this could lead to increased prices at the till as they will have to find alternatives.

To date, the Government has talked a lot about climate action but delivered very little. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has indicated that he will use the result of the local elections to push reforms which ministers were afraid would damage Fine Gael at the polls.

"It will require changes at individual, community and national level. It won't be easy and won't always be popular but the public support is there for it now," the Taoiseach said.

Measures which will hit consumers directly in the pocket will be presented alongside incentives for householders to retrofit their homes. People will be encouraged to improve their home insulation, so homes need less heating, helping the environment and saving on energy bills.

The climate action plan spells out that the current approach to retro-fitting homes is not delivering the step-change required to meet the current target of 45,000 homes a year to be retro-fitted over the next decade. Every home in the country will also be given a 'smart meter' by 2024 so that they can monitor their electricity and gas consumption in real time.

There will be a rush to introduce 'green measures' before the next election.

However, question marks remain about whether the Government will prioritise the easy options or go for the hard ones.

Irish Independent

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