Tory proposals for an increase in green taxation have secured significant public support, according to a survey this week from Ipsos MORI undertaken ahead of the Party's annual conference in Blackpool.
The survey of over 2,000 people found widespread backing for several of the green taxation proposals included in the recent Quality of Life report developed by John Gummer and Zac Goldsmith.
The poll found that 64 percent were in favour of higher taxes for gas guzzling vehicles, while 62 percent backed Tory plans for financial incentives for people who cut the carbon footprint of their homes. Meanwhile, supporters of a freeze on airport expansion outnumber detractors with 49 percent supporting a moratorium and only 20 percent opposing the move.
However, shadow chancellor George Osborne's speech confirming that he would not endorse the Quality of Life report's calls for parking charges at out of town shopping centres and a significant increase in air taxes is likely to be welcomed with the survey finding limited support for both ideas.
Phil Downing, Head of Environmental Research at Ipsos MORI, said the poll suggested that the public is broadly in favour of the concept of green taxation.
"Not everything is palatable to the public, and out of town parking charges in particular face widespread opposition," he said. "However, they back, in principle, Polluter Pays and the idea that the environmental agenda is more than just pain free, easy wins."
Speaking at the conference, shadow environment secretary Peter Ainsworth confirmed that alongside support for some of the report's green taxation proposals the Tories would also endorse its plans for major reforms in the energy sector designed to deliver "a revolution in the way that our energy is generated and supplied".
He said that the party would back the review's proposals for a waste heat levy on power stations designed to encourage them to invest in systems for capturing and reusing waste heat and would also undertake an overhaul of the government's controversial Renewables Obligation legislation in order to "adjust distorting subsidies for on-shore wind farms and ensure proper competitive tariffs for emerging renewable technologies".
Ainsworth added that feed-in tariff that guarantee that householders generating energy using on-site renewable technologies can sell it back to the grid at attractive rates, may be "a terrible bit of jargon", but would also prove hugely successful in increasing adoption of on-site renewable energy technologies.
He also insisted that many of the reviews recommendations could be embraced without the need for reams red tape and an overall increase in taxation. "It is absolutely not, as some commentators suggested, all about increasing bureaucracy and taxation," he said. "Far from it. Bureaucracy and taxation are the last things we need in the fight to improve Quality of Life."
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