The TaxPayers’ Alliance can reveal that €87 million has been handed to environmentalist campaigns in the UK and the rest of the European Union in the last ten years. British taxpayers have contributed to this budget.
Taxpayers are paying twice: once for the grants, and again in higher energy bills caused by successful environmentalist campaigns for energy taxes and new regulations.
The key findings of the TPA research (pages 10-13) are:
- A total of €86.5 million has been given to a range of environmental groups by the European Commission over the past 10 years
- 34 groups have been given more than €1 million
- The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) was the group that received the most funding from the European Commission, €8.3 million
- Friends of the Earth has received the second most: €7.6 million
- Birdlife International has received the third most funding: €3.8 million
Many of the environmental groups are heavily reliant on EU funding:
- The European Commission provided 57 per cent of Friends of the Earth Europe’s funding in 2015
- The European Commission provided 49 per cent of Pesticide Action Network Europe’s funding in 2015
This funding is an unfair subsidy at the expense of many people who may not agree with the environmentalist campaigns’ objectives:
- Many environmentalist campaigns are largely funded with money raised in taxes and have an increasingly direct role in public sector decision making. Their status as true non-governmental organisations has been undermined and they should be subject to greater transparency
- Environmentalist campaigning often ends up colluding with commercial interests. Groups pressing for greater regulations create profits for some businesses and costs for others. Those costs are often passed on to consumers
- Taxpayer funded lobbying and political campaigning does not represent any independent economic or popular interest. It promotes the priorities of politicians or officials and allows them to cement or expand their existing influence. It acts to reinforce existing political judgements
John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:
"It is wasteful and inappropriate for Brussels to spend our money funding their pet environmentalist projects and groups. This a poor attempt to give subsidies for special interests in favoured industries a veneer of democratic accountability. We all want cheap, clean energy and that will come about by more research and innovation, not by Eurocrats doling out taxpayers' hard-earned cash to environmental lobbyists in Brussels."