Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wasting Energy... And Money

Over at the Daily Propaganda, Alan Drew draws attention to the latest exploits of government quango the Energy Saving Trust. The EST has cost us £135m in the last two years, in exchange for which it has pumped out almost as much half-baked eco propaganda as the BBC.

Alan focuses in on their recommended eco car, the electrically powered G-wiz, which thanks to the EST's seal of approval, qualifies for all kinds of tax breaks:
  • Exemption from road tax (worth £150)
  • Exemption from the London congestion charge (worth over £2,000 p.a. if you drive in every day)
  • Free parking on meters and pay & display bays in Westminster and the City (at a minimum of £10 per day, worth £3650 if driving in every day)
  • Minimum 96% discount on central London MasterPark season tickets (just £200 p.a. and worth over £6,000 p.a.), with 52 free charging points
  • Free parking in 7 City car parks (6 with free charging points - again worth several grand)
  • 100% Year 1 tax write down for business (worth £1400)
  • Lowest rate of company car tax at just 9% (maximum is 35% - again worth several grand)

Which on my calc means it could save you well over ten grand a year: ten grand the rest of us do have to pay.

Ah, you say, but it's saving the planet.

Except that according to Alan, it isn't. Because although the EST reckons it's "the most energy efficient car on the road" and better for the planet, it's only that way if you don't count the carbon cost of generating and transmitting the electricity to charge it up. Once you do, it turns out it's more carbon generative than a bog standard Ford Focus 1.6D. Which doesn't qualify for any of the financial breaks.

So that's £70m pa on a quango that's so useless it's actually encouraging the very behaviour it was supposed to stop.

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