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Industry rallies for a green election

The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC), which represents green businesses' interests to Government, has produced its election manifesto.

Tony Blair this week confirmed the general election would take place on May 5 and EIC chairman Adrian Wilkes said the manifesto was a bid to put environmental policy at the heart of all parties' campaigns.

He added: "The next Government must lead a new "green industrial revolution" if we are to achieve a future of economic prosperity with a healthy environment."

The EIC says its members must grill candidates using three key questions, one of which is:

"Will you ensure that the enforcement of environmental protection measures is properly funded?"

The answer to this is already known.

The Liberal Democrats and Labour have both pledged further funds for the Environment Agency (EA), while the Tories have promised to axe it.

The EIC's manifesto also calls on the next Government to speed up the increase in Landfill Tax to drive waste minimisation, recycling and new treatment technologies.

And it calls on the victorious party to stop crime paying.

Wilkes said: "Failure to effectively enforce environmental legislation damages not only the environment but also the good citizens in mainstream industry that invest to meet their obligations only to see their competitors allowed to pollute for free.

"The next Government should ensure sentences for environmental offences are tough enough to have a genuinely deterrent effect and boost the resources provided to the EA and local authorities to carry out regulatory enforcement."

Both Environment Minister Elliot Morley and his Liberal Democrat counterpart Norman Baker have said that their parties were considering the re-training of magistrates to give higher fines for environmental offences.

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