Brown's "Green" Budget

Gordon Brown's budget speech today included the smallest tip of the hat towards environmental issues - hardly the "green budget" that many have called it.

The most-polluting cars, those that have the highest CO2 emmissions, are to have their road tax, or Vehicle Excise Duty, increased to £210 annually - that's an increase of just £45 and less than the cost of a tank of petrol. The UK has around 23 million cars in total and the tax increase will only affect some 250,000 or about 1% of the cars on UK roads and is seen as a mere gesture against the least economical cars, mainly the fashionable off-road 4x4s.

At the other end of the spectrum the most economical/ least-polluting vehicles will pay £40 a year, down from £75 which includes that most famous of green cars the hybrid-engined Toyota Prius. Cars with virtually no emissions will be exempted from road tax altogether.

Duty on petrol will be frozen until September 2006.

The climate change levy, a tax on energy use in industry, remains unchanged with Brown believing that 3,000 businesses have cut their energy use and thus emissions through the levy.

This is going in the right direction but is it going far enough?