0312 GMT September 24, 2022
A survey of motorists suggests they will be more likely to buy polluting cars following a Budget change, the BBC reported.
Environment groups say in a letter to the prime minister this is one of many recent changes to taxes and incentives that will push up CO2 emissions.
The government said it aimed to keep its promises on cutting CO2.
However, it added that energy policy urgently needed revision.
The AA and the green groups are disturbed by a welter of announcements in past weeks on the environment and energy.
In his Budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the nil Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) band for clean petrol cars would be restricted in future to electric vehicles.
This removes a tax break for clean petrol cars and hybrids, which will from 2017 attract the same VED as gas guzzlers.
The AA president Edmund King said: “If the government is serious about trying to get motorists to drive cleaner greener cars, this is really counter-productive.
“Drivers will not be given the same incentive to go for cleaner (petrol or hybrid) cars so there won’t be the same pressure on manufacturers to produce those cleaner models. We seem to be getting rid of an incentive that worked very well.”
The AA’s poll suggested 59 percent of drivers thought the VED changes penalized low-CO2 cars. A Treasury spokesman said the VED change would incentivize the very cleanest zero emissions vehicles.
The environment groups, meanwhile, are reeling from a slew of about a dozen policy shifts which experts say are likely to drive up CO2 emissions.
The government will cut subsidies to onshore wind, commercial solar power, and industrial biomass burning. It has scrapped the ailing Green Deal insulation scheme without a replacement, delayed a mandate for Zero Carbon homes, and reduced a tax on pollution. It has also imposed a carbon tax — the Climate Change Levy — on the very renewable industry it was designed to promote.
Some green campaigners say these initiatives and others comprise the biggest reversal of environmental policies in memory.
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd recently said the government would keep its commitments on climate change, but more efficiently.
“My priorities are clear. We need to keep bills as low as possible for hardworking families and businesses while reducing our emissions in the most cost-effective way.
“Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly. As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies.”