Chapter 11Carbon Reduction and Fiscal Incentives for Sustainable Design

Paul Farey

11.1 Introduction

The subject of tax relief could easily warrant a book of its own: the UK is blessed with “one of the most complex and opaque tax codes in the world” (BBC, 2010) with all aspects of personal life and business taxed, either directly or indirectly and sometimes both. In March 2011, The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) published its final report highlighting 1,042 reliefs, allowances and exemptions within the system (OTS, 2011). Only a handful of these have subsequently been abolished.

The challenge of working within the tax rules becomes yet more demanding when the behemoth that is the UK tax system is applied to the brave new world of sustainability and the drive towards low energy and carbon reduction. Carbon itself is a relatively new commodity for the system to tackle and new measures have been created to tax consumption, as well as fiscal encouragement to reduce its use. The Government’s ability to balance the carrot of incentive against the stick of levy has been undoubtedly hamstrung by the scale of UK debt, as evidenced through the accelerated reduction of feed-in tariffs and the effective taxation of carbon through the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Efficiency Scheme.

This chapter examines the key drivers for building owners and occupiers, particularly around the triple bottom line of social, economic and environment to achieve the goals of sustainability. The UK Government’s ...

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