Emissions SMMT News

SMMT is promised review of ”impossible” CO2 emissions targets

09 February 2004 #Emissions #SMMT News

Controversial emission targets proposed for automotive manufacturing sites are set to be reviewed. The news comes following a meeting this week between SMMT and HM Treasury officials at which the industry’s concerns were raised.

Under the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs proposals, which were drafted as part of the UK’s implementation of EU Emissions Trading Scheme, qualifying sites would be forced to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 18.8 per cent in just three years. The rate of reduction is eight times greater than specified under EU proposals and 10 times more onerous than targets set in the Kyoto protocol.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan said, ‘We are pleased that the government is committed to a review of this punitive and unrealistic scheme. Apart from the enormous cost burden to UK manufacturers, the targets are completely unrealistic.

‘The motor sector has worked hard to improve its environmental performance all round, including a commitment to cut emissions from manufacturing sites by 15 per cent from 1995 levels by 2010. This was negotiated as part of the sector’s climate change agreement with government.

‘Moving the goalposts now would be unacceptable. We therefore look forward to constructive dialogue with the Treasury and HM Customs and Excise in the near future to move this issue forward.’

Under EU Emission Trading Scheme rules, qualifying sites must cut emissions by 16.3 per cent from 1990 levels by 2010. If the UK government chose 2002 as its base line, it would fail to take account of the huge investment already made in modernising many British-based plants in the late 1990s, with corresponding improvements in environmental performance.

As well as cost concerns, the industry will also be seeking clarification as to exactly what sites are covered under the EU Emission Trading Scheme proposals as well as a slowdown in the pace of UK implementation. This will ensure that administrative burdens caused by the simultaneous operation of IPPC regulations, climate change and Emission Trading Schemes are kept to a minimum.

No greater administrative or cost penalties must be levied on UK manufacturers than those operating in mainland Europe. In discussions with government, the motor industry will encourage implementation plans that are sympathetic with other European member states. This ‘level playing field’ approach is the only way to avoid threats to jobs and investment in UK plc.

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