UK panel gives go-ahead to green instruments

Advisors agree to use of economic instruments, call for shift towards a sustainable economy

There is no evidence that using economic instruments to promote sustainable development damages a country's international competitiveness, according to one of the UK government's key advisors on environmental issues, the Round Table on Sustainable Development. But such instruments are rarely effective alone, says the group, and they should form part of a package of measures including regulation and negotiated agreements.

Significant obstacles, both real and perceived, exist to prevent the wider uptake of economic instruments but these are "not too difficult" to overcome, the group says in a report published yesterday. It calls for a new advisory body to assess the effectiveness of such instruments and recommend areas where additional measures are needed.

A long-term strategic shift in the economy is also urged. "The government must be bolder with its powers to move the economy in more sustainable directions," group chairman Derek Osborn said. To achieve this, the objectives of the UK sustainable development strategy (ENDS Daily 17 May 1999) need to be more closely integrated with the budget and the government's spending planning process, the Round Table concludes.

Follow Up:
The UK Round Table on Sustainable Development, tel: +44 20 7944 4960. The report will be available on the Round Table website shortly.

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