LONDON (Reuters) - Industrial users of renewable energy in Britain will no longer be exempt from a climate change tax on non-domestic energy users, finance minister George Osborne said on Wednesday.
"Now we have a long-term framework for investment in renewable energy in place, we will remove the outdated Climate Change Levy exemption for renewable electricity that has seen taxpayer money benefit ting electricity generation abroad," Osborne said in his budget speech on Wednesday.
The levy was introduced in 2001 to encourage businesses to use energy more efficiently and to reduce harmful carbon emissions. So far, users of green energy had been exempt from paying the tax. The exemption will be lifted on Aug. 1.
Osborne also announced the government will open North Sea oil and gas investment allowances to more activities, a policy aimed at reviving oil and gas production in the mature North Sea basin.
The finance minister also underlined the government's commitment to eventually establish a sovereign wealth fund made up of revenues from shale gas extraction, which would be for use by communities that host shale sites.
Britain's shale gas industry was dealt a major blow last week when two applications for what could have been the country's first shale gas wells were rejected by local authorities.
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps and Nina Chestney; Editing by Susan Fenton)