Britain will splash out £60million on planting some 10 million trees across England as ministers continue their green revolution.
Philip Hammond today confirmed the extra money will be invested to create a new generation of greenery across the country.
He also announced that a new tax will be slapped on packaging which does not contain enough recycled materials.
But in a move which will infuriate environmental campaigners, he said he will not be introducing a ‘late levy’ tax on disposable coffee cups.
Theresa May has declared war on plastics, bringing in a 5p plastic bag charge and floating plans to ban plastic straws.
Unveiling his Budget in the House of Commons today, Mr Hammond unveiled the creation of two pots of cash to help beef up Britain’s green spaces.
The first will be a £10million fund for trees in streets and urban areas, matched by funding contributions from local authorities, community groups and charities.
On top of this, up to £50million will be made available to buy carbon credits from landowners who agree to plant new woodland, which could lead to an estimated 10 million new trees over the next 30 years.
It follows the launch of the Government’s 25-year environment plan at the start of the year.
Mr Hammond also approved a study into a new ‘Great Thames Park’ in the Thames Estuary.
The new plastic packaging tax will see products which are produced or imported into the UK and do not have at least 30 per cent recycled materials in them slapped with a new charge from April 2022.
The money was unveiled as part of Mr Hammond’s final Budget before Brexit in March next year.
Campaign group A Plastic Planet’s co-founder Sian Sutherland welcomed the new tax as the ‘leadership we needed’.
She said: ‘By taxing virgin plastic we will prevent the continual misuse of this indestructible material.
‘We can now start to build the foundations for the UK to be a world leader in the new biomaterials of the future.’
The Woodland Trust’s director of conservation Abi Bunker said the support for more trees ‘while a welcome start, is only a step in the right direction to re-green our deforested country and tackle our climate change crisis’.
She warned the £30 billion road investment, with many ancient woodland and trees under threat from new developments, threw a shadow over the announcement.
The Chancellor also came under fire from environmentalists for freezing fuel duty for the ninth consecutive year, maintaining support for oil and gas, failing to support onshore wind and solar, and not being ambitious enough on taxing plastics.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas angrily accused Mr Hammond of not dong enough in the Budget to tackle climate change and improve the environment.
She said the UK had urgently needed an emergency budget with ‘major investment in green energy and jobs to protect the planet’.
‘It’s unforgivable that Philip Hammond failed to even mention climate change,’ she said.
Mrs May has set about trying to transform the Tory Party’s green credentials after losing her party’s overrall majority in last year’s General Election disaster.
In an election campaign widely branded the Tory Party’s worst ever, Mrs May promises a free vote on bringing back fox hunting in a policy which bombed on the doorstep.
But after barely surviving as PM after the election, Mrs May appointed Michael Gove Environment Secretary and set about trying to cast the Tories as Britain’s leading environmentalist party.