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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 February 2006, 07:26 GMT
Wasteful homes 'should be taxed'
Running tap
The institute proposes taxing inefficient use of resources
Britons should pay more for "wasteful" products such as standard light bulbs, disposable batteries and cameras, a think tank has suggested.

The Treasury is considering a report from the Policy Studies Institute into how taxes and incentives could be used to promote eco-friendly lifestyles.

Among the institute's ideas was to charge higher council tax to households throwing away too much rubbish.

Those taking energy conservation measures would pay less council tax.

A 5% VAT increase on houses that do not comply with sustainable building standards was also suggested.

More than half of the UK's water consumption, 28% of its greenhouse gas emissions and 10% of its waste comes from people at home.

People are concerned about the environment, but do not know what they can do to help
Policy Studies Institute report author Rebecca Willis

And the institute says tougher measures are needed to cut consumption.

It is calling for a water meter in every home and council tax cuts for installing insulation.

There is also a plan to set up a watchdog called the Products Agency to enforce inefficiency charges on disposable batteries and cameras, garden sprinklers and incandescent light bulbs.

BBC environment correspondent Tom Heap said the Treasury was unlikely to introduce such changes this year.

But Green Alliance director Guy Thompson urged Gordon Brown to use this year's Budget and spending review to "raise the Treasury's game on the environment".

"With rising oil prices and David Cameron raising the stakes, the chancellor must be looking over his shoulder and pondering his green credentials," he added

"The stalling of the green tax agenda can only mean the environment is Gordon Brown's blind spot.

"A package of green tax measures linked to behaviour change is right on the button."

Report author Rebecca Willis also called on the government to "take the pain out of being green".

"People are concerned about the environment, but do not know what they can do to help," she added.

Details of the proposals emerged as a motoring lobby group urged the government to introduce harsher tax penalties for the least fuel efficient cars, to help encourage motorists to buy more environmentally friendly models.

In a pre-Budget letter to Chancellor Gordon Brown, the RAC Foundation suggests bringing in a new top tax band for the worst offenders.

There are currently six bands for tax discs, from band A for the most fuel efficient cars, costing 75 a year, to band F for the least efficient, costing 170 a year.

Hear about which inefficient products could be taxed

Light bulbs: Not such a bright idea
03 Feb 06 |  Science/Nature
Greens plan energy tax windfalls
12 Dec 05 |  Scotland

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