Government cuts funding for environmental issues - Environment - The Independent

Government cuts funding for environmental issues

A A A

Ministers have slashed funding for campaigns to improve the environment and have quietly scrapped an initiative designed to combat global warming and increase recycling in Britain.

Ministers have slashed funding for campaigns to improve the environment and have quietly scrapped an initiative designed to combat global warming and increase recycling in Britain.

In a decision that will cast fresh doubt on the Government's commitment to green issues, funding for environmental campaigns has dramatically decreased in the past year, and now sits at its lowest level since Labour came to power.

The Government has abolished its flagship "Are you Doing your Bit?" campaign, which was designed to encourage people to change their habits and conserve energy, recycle and reduce car use.

The campaign, launched by John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, in 1998 in a fanfare of publicity was promoted by Downing Street and regarded as a main tool in combating global warming and promoting sustainability. But its funding, which stood at nearly £10m four years ago, was eliminated last year and there are no plans to revive the programme.

The Government's own figures show that its expenditure on environmental campaigns will total £7.7m this year, a 58 per cent decrease from 2000 to 2001, when funding stood at £19m.

The cuts come as figures show that road traffic has increased by nearly 8 per cent in Britain and domestic energy consumption by almost 7 per cent. Carbon dioxide emissions have also risen.

Norman Baker MP, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, accused ministers or "green hypocrisy". He said: "The Secretary of State for the Environment, Margaret Beckett, has said that changing consumer behaviour is vital, yet, at the same time, cut the very programme which aims to do this. She must come clean and say how she plans to stop public awareness on this issue from withering away. 'Doing your Bit' doesn't mean binning environmental campaigns."

The Government has slashed funding for programmes to stop people littering and polluting, reducing energy use and cutting traffic pollution. Government funding for the Tidy Britain campaign, to cut littering, has fallen 48 per cent since last year and the energy efficiency campaign has had funding cut by 5 per cent.

Tony Blair has pledged to try to tackle global warming and has set demanding targets to try to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Britain. But many commentators fear that Britain is not on track to meet the targets, particularly because of the Government's failure to cut car use.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said the cuts to environmental campaigns were because of a reduction in funding from central government for the department and not because of a lack of commitment to green issues.He said: "We have had less resources to spend and that means we have had to make cuts. When cuts come they affect everything."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week