The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is warning that proposals for the accelerated reduction of carbon emissions made in the fourth report of the Climate Change Committee and recently accepted by government are in danger of reducing the competitiveness of energy-intensive industries in the UK.
Under the proposals, the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the UK between 2023 to 2027 would be cut by 50% from 1990 levels.
While accepting that the work of the Climate Change Committee in recommending carbon budgets and reductions is critical, the MPA says that in implementing those recommendations the Government must not take risks with the competitiveness of UK industry. Outlining the Association’s concerns, Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the MPA, said: ‘The potential application of rapidly escalating carbon costs to industries such as cement and lime carries an inevitable risk of driving industry to lower-cost locations overseas and of replacing highly regulated UK production with imports.
‘At a time when we are looking at subdued levels of economic growth in the foreseeable future, we need to promote and support UK manufacturing, such as mineral products, and be extremely cautious about the imposition of costs which disadvantage UK businesses.
‘The UK mineral products industry, including cement and industrial lime, has achieved very significant reductions in carbon emissions in recent years and is committed to doing more.
The MPA is urging government to engage fully with energy-intensive industries as a matter of urgency to examine the increasing and cumulative energy and carbon cost burden and to develop significant mitigation measures.
The Association also believes it is essential that government reviews the growing impact of government-imposed energy costs on less energy-intensive sectors and SMEs.
‘We want to work with government and our customers to ensure that our industry continues to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to sustainable development in the UK,’ said Mr Jackson. ‘This requires an approach to carbon which is consistent with other countries, reasonable and proportionate, and seeks to take advantage of emerging technologies such as carbon capture and storage in the UK.
‘There is no economic or environmental benefit to be gained if, in the long term, we simply replace domestic production and emissions with imports whose emissions are recorded elsewhere but still add to the global total.’