CIEH Calls on Chancellor to Tax Diesel and Put Environment First in Budget

Publication Date: 15th November 2017

Subject: CIEH

With the Chancellor due to give his budget next week, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has called on Mr Hammond to use this opportunity to tackle some of the key issues affecting our environment.

This budget is a unique chance for the Chancellor to show that he is serious about addressing some of the vital issues such as the deteriorating state of air quality in our cities, the impact of mass plastic consumption on our environment, and the need to improve recycling in our communities.

There is evidence of the contribution of poor air quality to illnesses such as cancer, stroke, asthma, and heart disease, and there are also strong associations with obesity, dementia, and diabetes, all of which are chronic illnesses on the increase in the UK. The effects are especially evident in vulnerable people such as children, the elderly, and those with existing cardio-vascular and respiratory issues.

Poor outdoor air quality in the UK results in around 40,000 premature deaths annually, with the Government being repeatedly taken to court for failing to meet legal requirements. 

The problem of mass and unsustainable plastic consumption in our society is fast becoming a crisis. Recent reports have shown that the amount of rubbish found in British waters has soared by more than 150 per cent in a year, with almost 80 per cent of the refuse found on the seabed being plastics.

Recycling as a way to begin to tackle the spread of plastics has many benefits, such as reducing the quantity of waste that needs to be managed by other approaches, such as landfill, or that has the potential to enter the environment as litter. It also reduces the requirement for fossil oil and gas to manufacture new plastics.

CIEH is calling on the Chancellor to take immediate action by:

1. Increasing tax on diesel fuel whilst reducing fuel duty for petrol vehicles

2. Introducing a 5p tax on coffee cups, with revenue ring fenced to aid research into recyclable alternatives

3. Providing financial support for measures to reduce wider plastic consumption and promote environmental clean-up across the UK

Tony Lewis, Head of Policy at CIEH said:

“Air quality, plastic consumption, and recycling, are three of the biggest environmental issues facing this country right now. With the health of the nation being deeply affected by the deteriorating situation, it is vital that the Chancellor puts the environment first in his budget.

We want to see measures taken to curb diesel usage, to promote the sharp reduction in plastic consumption, and to provide the resources to clear our waterways and seas of discarded plastics.

Time really is of the essence if we are to avoid an environmental calamity.”


Notes to editors  

  1. Figures on premature deaths caused by poor air quality come from the Royal College of Physicians’ report “Every Breath We Take”

  2. Figures on plastics in UK waters come from DEFRA’s “Natural Environment Indicators” report:

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About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):   

The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing more than 9,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved. 

Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. The CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.  

For more information visit and follow the CIEH on Twitter @The_CIEH


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