Matching taxation principles with environmental policies
A HM Customs & Excise case study

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Page 2: The nature of the problem

Your actions are putting the future of the planet at risk'. Most of us will have heard the warning calls by now. But are we taking notice of them. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that, left to their own devices, individual people and organisations will take matters such as 'the future of the planet' seriously or acknowledge the part they themselves are playing towards putting the future at risk.

People and organisations need to see their behaviours and activities are significant in the overall order of things, otherwise it is probable that, for example:

  • factory owners will continue to pollute land, sea and sky with toxic wastes and emissions
  • trawler skippers will set out to catch as many fish as possible
  • landowners will continue to uproot hedges, enlarge fields and mechanise production
  • property developers will flood valleys, drain meadows, destroy forests, despoil agricultural land
  • final consumers will continue to increase their levels of consumption
  • consumers (individuals or organisation) will seek to dispose/discard rather than recycle/re-use
  • car owners will demand more new, bigger, better roads
  • car manufacturers will continue to build bigger, faster, more powerful, thirstier cars
  • airlines will clamour for more airports, longer runways, a greater number of 'landing slots'.

All of these are examples of human economic activity.

In the past, this type of activity has enabled us to survive and flourish. Nowadays, however, it is the nature and scale of human economic activity that is seen as a major factor in jeopardising the future.

HM Customs & Excise | Matching taxation principles with environmental policies