Anger over environment cuts

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The Independent Online
One of the Government's most important organisations for cutting climate changing greenhouse gas emissions has had its budget slashed, immediately after the Kyoto Climate Summit.

John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, this week announced spending plans for his Department of the Environment, Transport and Regions. They include a pounds 5m cut for the Energy Saving Trust, from pounds 19m this year to pounds 14m next year. Angry and disappointed environmental groups are to write, asking him to reconsider. The Energy Saving Trust was set up five years ago in order to find ways of encouraging homes and businesses to cut their consumption of fossil fuels, thereby reducing emissions of the gases which cause global warming.

Yesterday, the Department of the Environment said the cut in spending had been part of the previous government's spending programme. A decision had been made not to alter it, but the trust's spending in future years would be reviewed in the light of the Kyoto commitments.

Peter Roche, climate campaigner with Greenpeace UK, said: ``It's very disappointing, especially just after Mr Prescott came back from doing a good job in Kyoto."