Deputy PM asserts support for green policies following Tory attacks on wind energy proposals and ‘conservatory tax’
Nick Clegg has stepped into the growing row over the coalition’s green policies to call for companies to pay much higher penalties for the carbon dioxide they emit.
He said there was an urgent need for the government to impose regulations on business, in order to meet environmental objectives.
The deputy prime minister’s personal intervention came after senior Tory ministers in recent days urged a watering down of key green targets, labelling a plan to strengthen building regulations as a “conservatory tax”, and attacking proposals for new renewable energy.
Clegg, along with the energy secretary, his fellow Lib Dem Ed Davey, called for businesses to be subject to higher costs for every tonne of carbon dioxide they pour out. At present, the prices they pay are depressed because of the recession, but this removes the incentives for companies to cut their greenhouse gases and enables high-emitting industries to continue without putting in place efficiency measures.