A leading think tank has warned that manufacturers of products such as cement could be driven out of the UK by green tax burdens.
According to think tank Civitas, quoted in the Telegraph today, companies are increasingly sourcing their cement from countries such as Turkey, where lower environmental standards make it cheaper to produce. It believes that emissions trading, industry-financed subsidies to the renewable energy sector and the Climate Change Levy are making it harder for UK-based producers to compete with countries with less stringent environmental regimes.
Shipping costs are relatively cheap compared with the energy required to produce cement.
Britain has gone from being a net exporter to a net importer of cement, with three out of four of the biggest UK names foriegn-owned; Civitas warns it would not take much to persuade them to move production overseas.
The Mineral Products Association has said the UK cement industry is exceeding environmental performance targets agreed with the Environment Agency.