Danes argue over energy efficiency funds

Environment ministry denies media allegations that cut in energy saving trust funding is illegal

Denmark's environment ministry is facing scrutiny by the national auditor following press allegations that public money supposed to be spent on boosting energy efficiency had "disappeared into the ministry".

A Danish Electricity Saving Trust was established in 1997, and since 1998 has been funded by a fixed levy per kilowatt hour of electricity consumed by households and the public sector. All the proceeds of the tax are supposed to go to the trust - about DKr90m (euros 12m) per year.

A Danish newspaper reported this week, however, that the environment ministry had proposed giving only DKr40m to the trust next year and around DKr60m in following years. Jyllands Posten claimed that this constituted an illegal act by environment minister Svend Auken.

Ministry officials denied any illegality. The trust is not spending all the funds available to it, one told ENDS Daily, with DKr12m left over in 1999. In the light of this the governing coalition had struck a deal to reduce the financial allocation, which had been approved by parliament.

Follow Up:
Danish environment ministry, tel: +45 33 92 76 00; Electricity Saving Trust, tel: +45 33 92 76 00.

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