Taxpayers fund environmentalist campaigns through £75m EU programme 

The TaxPayers' Alliance today reveals that £75 million has been handed to 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 through higher prices that result when environmentalist groups successfully campaign for new taxes and regulations.
The key findings of this research are:
  • Total EU funding to environmentalist groups has been nearly €100 million since 1997, 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 (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' spending cuts and recommend 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 and other European representatives. The video accuses 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'.
Click the image to watch Energy Savings Man: we need real heroes   

Matthew Sinclair, Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, 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.”

Media contacts

To arrange broadcast interviews, please contact: 
Robert Oxley
Campaign Manager, The TaxPayers' Alliance
07795 084 113

To discuss the research, please contact:
Matthew Sinclair
Director, The TaxPayers' Alliance
07795 084 113   

Notes to editors

1. Established in 2004 and now with 65,000 supporters, the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) is Britain’s independent, grassroots campaign for lower taxes and better government. Find out more about the TaxPayers' Alliance at

2. The full report can be found here:

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