New Research: British taxpayers fund environmentalist campaigns, through £75m EU programme
Jun 2012 19

We can today reveal the extent of the £75 million of taxpayer funding for environmentalist campaigns in the UK and the European Union since 1997. British taxpayers have paid for around £7.5 million of this budget. This money is spent on political campaigning which results in taxpayers paying twice: once for the grants handed out and then again with the higher prices that result when environmentalist groups successfully campaign for new taxes and regulations.

Click here to read the full report including a full list of funded groups

The key findings of this research are:

  • Total EU funding to environmentalist groups has been nearly €100 million, around £75 million at current exchange rates
  • Based on Britain’s share of gross contributions to the EU budget, that is around €10 million or £7.5 million
  • The European Environmental Bureau has received the most funding, at nearly £9 million.
  • 19 groups have received more than £1 million including Friends of the Earth (£6 million), the Climate Action Network (£2 million) and Women in Europe for a Common Future (£2 million). Many of the other groups funded are also members of the European Environmental Bureau, so they receive additional support indirectly

This funding is an unfair subsidy at the expense of many people who may not agree with the environmentalist campaigns’ objectives:

  • The European Environmental Bureau has joined with Trade Unions to attack European governments’ cutting spending and recommended that minimum levels should be introduced for energy taxes such as Fuel Duty
  • Friends of the Earth brought legal action against the British Government over cuts in solar subsidies. Taxpayers effectively paid for both sides of the case
  • Friends of the Earth and the Climate Action Network both receive substantial funding under this programme. They have recently released a video, Energy Savings Man: we need real heroes, which depicts a green spandex clad climate activist kidnapping a representative of the British Government and then lecturing him under duress along with other European representatives. The video finishes by accusing Britain and other countries of trying to sabotage the EU Energy Efficiency Directive and proposes policies that would ration energy use, increase electricity bills and could mean a revival of the ‘conservatory tax’

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance and the reports author said:

Families struggling with higher fuel costs will find it incredible that their money is being used to fund campaigners who lobby for the regulations and taxes that drive up their bills. This is yet another example of the European Union squandering our money and politicians spending taxpayers’ cash trying to create a climate of opinion that supports their policy agenda, rather than responding to the public’s real priorities. This programme needs to be scrapped. It is more evidence that hikes in the EU budget are completely unjustified as Brussels wastes so much already.”


Matthew was the Chief Executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, author of Let Them Eat Carbon and editor of How to Cut Public Spending (and still win an election)

  • Gold Bug

    This sort of thing will never end whilst we have a government unrestrained by sound money. Repeal legal tender laws ad competing currencies would appear. That would force all governments, whether national or supra national to restrict spending to essentials and eliminate borrowing. Goodbye to all these quangos, agencies or pseudo charities.

  • Foeke

    You don’t actually show anywhere in your report if the funding these organisations receive is spent on political lobbying or campaigning. How many of these organisations run conservation, education or cleaning projects? The central assertion here – that the money goes directly to lobbying – is not backed up. 

    There are also no references to show that a majority of the public disagrees with taxpayers money being spent on environmental causes. 

    This ‘research’ reads like little more than a print-out of the European Commission’s register of funding recipients served with a generous portion of poorly-written anti-Government bias.

    • Kobi

      FFS, money is fungible. If you get a grant to be spent on education, then you do not need to spend as much of your other resources on that area, and that money can be spent on lobbying or campaigning. or a larger proportion of the grant for education can be allocated to central admin and support costs supporting the education project than are strictly incurred, thus subsidising the remainder of the activity carried out. Do you not realise how the third sector actually works?

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