Environmental Audit Committee

24 October 2007


2007 Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is today launching an inquiry into the 2007 Pre-Budget Report and Comprehensive Spending Review - Meeting the aspirations of the British people (Cm 7227, October 2007). This continues the tradition of annual inquiries into the Treasury's Pre-Budget Reports (PBRs) which EAC has conducted since its inception in 1997.

In these inquiries, the Committee has reviewed the Treasury's approach to the environment, looking in particular at the extent to which it is following the policy it announced in 1997, of shifting the burden of taxation towards green taxes. The Committee also usually selects one or more themes in which to probe more deeply each year.

This year's PBR announced a reform of aviation tax, details of an Environmental Transformation Fund, and an increase in funding for Defra. The Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) also replaced previous environmental Public Service Agreements (PSAs) with two new PSAs: "to lead the global effort to avoid dangerous climate change", and "to secure a healthy natural environment for today and the future". Alongside the PBR, the Government announced details of a competition to design and build a demonstration Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) project. Additionally, the PBR was accompanied by publication of a report on implementation of the 2006 Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, and of the interim findings of the King Review on low carbon vehicles.

In this year's inquiry, the Committee would welcome views, from organisations or individuals, on any or all of the following:

€ The Treasury's reforms to Air Passenger Duty (APD), and any other aspect of the PBR's approach to aviation;

€ The Government's announcement on the competition to design and build a pilot Carbon Capture and Storage project, and policy towards funding and developing CCS more generally;

€ The new Public Service Agreements, in particular the PSA "to lead the global effort to avoid dangerous climate change", and also the extent to which the entire range of PSAs embodies a joined up approach to the environment;

€ The report on Moving to a global low carbon economy: implementing the Stern Review, and any other observations on the extent to which the PBR and CSR are responding to Stern;

€ The funding and design of the forthcoming Environmental Transformation Fund and Energy Technologies Institute;

€ The announcement of funding for the Congo forest conservation initiative;

€ The funding award to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs;

€ The interim King Review on low carbon vehicles, and any other aspects of policies towards transport and the environment in the PBR and CSR;

€ The information in and structure of the environmental chapter of the PBR, which now shares space with international development and defence;

€ Any other aspects of environmental tax and spending.

Written evidence should be sent to the Committee by Tuesday 20 November 2007. Evidence sessions are likely to take place on 4, 11, and 18 December 2007.

For printing purposes we require written submissions via e-mail to [email protected] in Word format. We are unable to accept PDFs except for supporting documentation already in the public domain which will not be printed by us. Although we no longer require a hard copy, it is your responsibility to check that we have received your submission if no email acknowledgement has been received by you. A brief guidance note on the preparation and submission of evidence is available on the Committee's web pages. For further information on the this inquiry, please telephone 020-7219-2878.

Notes for Editors

1. Details of all the Committee's press releases and inquiries, together with its Reports, oral evidence and other publications, are available on the Committee's Internet home page, which can be found at: