Scientists and campaigners have slammed the government’s decision to hand unexpectedly large subsidies to the biggest polluters – making it far cheaper to pollute in the UK than in the EU.

The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) requires major polluters to have a ‘permit’ for each tonne of CO2 they emit. They are given some for free but have to buy more on the open market – receiving fewer free ones every year to encourage them to slash their emissions.

But the government has quietly announced changes to the scheme that will see polluting industries given far more free permits than anticipated, according to a new report in the Financial Times.

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