Clean air tax pleas ignored

THE GOVERNMENT yesterday rejected pleas from industry to scrap its energy tax in favour of a system which would enable firms to trade emission permits among themselves.

Following a meeting with 30 of the country's biggest energy users, ministers re-iterated their view that a mix of measures, including the planned climate change levy, was needed to meet targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the Environment minister Michael Meacher, the Industry minister John Battle and the Treasury minister, Patricia Hewitt, welcomed the move to introduce a domestic carbon emissions trading system. The climate levy, due to be introduced in April 2001, would cost the steel industry pounds 230m a year alone.