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Taxes first, green second

As we report in today's paper, the Government is considering the imposition of huge increases in annual road tax. While these increases were flagged in last December's Budget they will still seriously hurt motorists, already struggling with the impact of record petrol and diesel prices.

In 2008, at the behest of the Green Party, the previous government changed the system of annual road tax and the vehicle registration tax (VRT) paid by all new buyers, from one based on the size of a car's engine to one based on its emissions.

Not surprisingly, motorists responded to this by overwhelmingly buying low-emission vehicles. This, in turn, has had a knock-on effect on government revenues.

Now the Government wants to recover the lost revenue. All of which goes to show that, when push comes to shove, so-called "green taxes" are levies first and foremost -- with green coming a poor second.