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The 2014 budget we want to see



Blue & Green Tomorrow has been writing about chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne’s budgets and economic statements since 2010. We detect a slight change of tone towards environmentalism, post-floods, in Osborne. His budget will demonstrate whether he’s really a shy green and a practical environmentalist, or whether it was all just spin.

We have been ‘in it together’ through austerity Britain, a reduction in the top rate of tax that had brought in revenue equal to the cuts in flood defence spending (£100m)*, and endless tax breaks for oil, gas and shale industries.

We’ve got used to being called the environmental Taliban, cultists, watermelons (green on the outside, red in the centre), theologically-minded, extremists and ‘epic wankers’ by Osborne and his allies.

Most recently we were told to cut the “green crap by no less a person than the prime minister, David Cameron, of hug-a-husky fame and leader of the least green government ever. A government that contains an environment secretary who denies the scientific consensus on manmade climate change, but conveniently accepts the scientific consensus of medicine when it comes to his detached retina, thus allowing him to escape the media during a national emergency over flooding.

So this budget is important both fiscally and in setting the direction of travel before the nation votes. It is the penultimate budget before the next general election in May 2015 and the final one before the local and European elections in May this year, and the Scottish independence referendum in September. We expect some targeted cuts and wheezes to shore up Tory and union support.

We would like to see the following tax neutral measures:

– Tax cut (£2 billion): a new green individual savings account (ISA) allowance to allow for tax-free investment in renewables, energy efficiency and cleantech projects

– Tax cut (£1 billion): an increase in the amount allowed to be raised for Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes/Enterprise Investment Schemes in renewables, energy efficiency and cleantech projects in the UK

– Tax cut (£2 billion): corporation tax to be cut further, with greater reductions for companies involved in sustainable enterprise

– Tax cut (£1 billion): creation of zero/low-rate corporation tax for businesses with under £5m turnover which are involved in sustainable enterprise

– Tax cut (£1 billion): creation of tax-free zones for areas of deprivation to encourage inward investment, only for those businesses locating three-quarters of their workforce in those areas

– Tax cut (£10 billion): continued rise in tax-free allowances in income tax for low-income families

– Tax cut (£5 billion): stamp duty zero-rated on affordable housing (up to £250,000) built on brownfield sites or developed above retail units

– Increased spending (£5 billion): greater investment in rail resilience and the network, including re-opening closed lines and accelerating all proposed development plans to take significantly greater numbers of passengers and freight off our roads. Independent analysis of benefit of east-west high speed link between Hull and Liverpool instead of HS2

– Increased spending (£8 billion): matched public sector investment for private sector investment in renewables, energy efficiency and cleantech

– Increased spending (£neg): an additional sum, added to the Wolfson award for delivering multiple “new Garden Cit(ies) which (are) visionary, economically viable, and popular

– Increased spending (£5 billion): a fund created to accelerate superfast broadband rollout for the most compelling and cost effective solution to reduce the need for moving lots of people around

– Tax rise (£20 billion): a new pollution added tax (PAT) for polluters that cost the taxpayer billions through the health effects of pollution and exacerbate resource shortages

– Tax rise (£5 billion): a windfall tax on large capital financial services to create a new fund for those studying higher courses in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and enterprise

– Tax rise (£15 billion): rather than compulsory purchase of used land, the introduction of a land value tax on brownfield sites and empty properties to offset revenue losses from tax cutting measures, encouraging the land’s development or releasing land banks

The above would create investment for renewables, resource efficiency and cleantech without subsidy, tackle the externalities of resource inefficient business and stimulate university activity around sustainability.

It would also tackle low pay without increasing benefits, and help solve our housing and transport issues, securing freight and passenger rail services and capacity with increasing frequency extreme weather. It would stimulate the entrepreneurial vigour and innovation of the UK.

Roll on March 19 to see none of the above and more of the same.

* We’re fairly confident our brilliant readership understands the impact of inflation on absolute spending

Further reading:

The budget speech we want to see

Myopic budget threatens UK’s long-term prosperity

A sustainable versus unsustainable recovery

Osborne’s omission heralds escalating emissions

Are capitalism and conservation incompatible?

Simon Leadbetter is the founder and publisher of Blue & Green Tomorrow. He has held senior roles at Northcliffe, The Daily Telegraph, Santander, Barclaycard, AXA, Prudential and Fidelity. In 2004, he founded a marketing agency that worked amongst others with The Guardian, Vodafone, E.On and Liverpool Victoria. He sold this agency in 2006 and as Chief Marketing Officer for two VC-backed start-ups launched the online platform Cleantech Intelligence (which underpinned the The Guardian’s Cleantech 100) and StrategyEye Cleantech. Most recently, he was Marketing Director of Emap, the UK’s largest B2B publisher, and the founder of Blue & Green Communications Limited.


How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018



Shutterstock / By KENG MERRY Paper Art |

Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.

Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:

1. Energy – produce it, save it

If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.

It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.

While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.

energy efficient

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By My Life Graphic

Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!

2. Don’t be just another tourist

Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.

3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly


Shutterstock / By Khakimullin Aleksandr

We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t  mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.

To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.

It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.

4. Know thy recycling

People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.

People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.

5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool

Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.

All in all

The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.

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Top 5 Changes You can Make in Your Life to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint




reduce carbon footprint
Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love? - Image from Shutterstock -

In a world, where war rages and global warming threatens our very existence, the inhabitants of earth need to be extra vigilant in their efforts to go green. This includes reducing your carbon footprint on the earth and leading a more sustainable life.

Many homeowners feel perplexed by all of the options available to reduce their carbon footprint. They may even feel (falsely) that making their household more green will fail to make that much of a difference in the fight to save our planet.

Even a single home going green has a massive impact on the environment. We can win this battle on home at a time. If you’re interested in accepting the challenge of making your household a green home, read on below for a few of the top changes you can make in your life to reduce your carbon footprint. We all stand to benefit from making the earth safer for future generations – and your wallet won’t complain when you start to see the savings in annual energy costs.

Switch From Dirty Energy to Clean Solar

The ION Solar reviews tell it all–solar is the best way to go. Whether your goal is to slash your energy bills, or to reduce your carbon footprint, the sun is a fantastic source of renewable energy.

It’s important to get past the hype from solar installers. Instead, listen to the plethora of impartial customer reviews that mention everything from a $20 energy bill, to the incredible feeling of knowing that you are doing your part by going green and minimizing harmful emissions in to our atmosphere.

The average investment is $15,000 to $30,000 for installation and purchase of solar panels. Optional battery power packs can help provide consistent power during both night and day. And many government agencies provide federal, state or local grants to help offset upfront investments in clean energy.

Depending on which installed you choose, your household may qualify for low-interest or zero interest loans to cover the up-front cost of your installation. And the loan payments are usually less than your current monthly power bill.

It really is a win-win, as home buyers are looking for homes that feature this technology – meaning solar power installation improves the resale value of your property.

Home Modifications

And there are a number of additional home modifications that can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. A programmable thermostat can better manage energy consumption from home cooling and heating systems while you’re away from home. And weather stripping your doors can help keep cool air in during the summer, and warm air in during the winter.

Of course, energy conservation starts at home. And this includes setting a powerful example for your kids. Teach your children how to close windows, strategically keep doors open or closed based on airflow, and encourage them to leave the thermostat alone – opting for adding or removing layers of clothing instead.

Unplug Appliances and Shut Off Electronics

Unplugging your appliances when they aren’t in use, such as the toaster and the coffee maker, has more of an impact than you might think. Set your TVs and stereos on sleep timers, instead of letting them run around the clock. The cumulative impact of wasteful electronic device usage is horrible for our environment – putting unnecessary strain on our electrical grid.


One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by recycling. You are already throwing this stuff away anyway, right? It doesn’t take much more effort to just put recyclables in a separate container to be recycled, now does it?

Oh, and did I mention that you can earn money for recycling? Yes! Many cities and towns have recycling centers that will purchase your clean plastic and glass bottles for reuse.

Minimize Your Water Usage

Water is one of the easiest things to forget about when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. Preserve water by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Shorten your shower by a few minutes and turn down the heat on that water heater. You’ll be surprised at how much lower your water bill and your energy bill will be.

Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love?

These are just a few of the top ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and start living a greener lifestyle. And we aren’t factoring in all of the advantages that we’ll reap from public investments in a smarter energy grid.

From decreasing your water usage, to switching to solar for your home’s energy needs, you will feel good at the end of the day knowing you are doing your part to save the future of this planet for generations to come!

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