The European Union has invested £86 million in climate change and environmental groups since 1997.
Britain’s share of the funding amounts to £8.6 million, with financing going to organisations including Friends of the Earth, WWF and Climate Action Network.
Consumers could end up footing two bills
The TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has warned that the campaigns being led by taxpayer-funded lobbies could lead to higher household energy bills. This could heap further pressure on cash-strapped consumers.
Matthew Sinclair, director of the TPA, commented that the grants to these groups mean that families are effectively paying out twice – first for the grants and then for rising energy bills.
He said: “Many of the environmentalist groups funded with European Commission grants do not appear to be the sort to get their hands dirty looking after endangered plants and animals.
“Instead the bureaucrats in Brussels are spending our money to fund their own lobbyists, to create artificial pressure for ever more onerous regulations that hurt British business and add to families bills.”
‘Taxpayer subsidies for radical environmentalists need to end’
To date, 25 Europe-based groups have received more than €1m (£860,000) of public funds in the past 15 years. The European Environmental Bureau, for example, has been given £10m in public funding .
Conservative MP Dominic Raab commented: “The green gravy train is the next big lobbying scandal. British taxpayers are coughing up millions to Brussels, which funds environmental groups to lobby national governments for pet regulation including subsidies that help keep our energy bills so high.
“It is ludicrous boondoggle that won’t make our environment cleaner, and hurts low and middle income households.”
Environmental groups respond
A spokesman for Friends of the Earth said: “We rely on the support of individuals and charitable trusts for over 95 per cent of our income and receives less than one per cent from the EU.
“Friends of the Earth Europe also receives EU funding for its important campaigns that help to protect people and wildlife. Our campaigning work focuses on safeguarding the long-term future of our environment – failure to do so will have a devastating impact on people and the economy.”