Large differences in greenhouse horticulture energy taxes in North-West Europe

Published on
March 31, 2016

The costs of energy taxes for greenhouse horticulture vary significantly between the different countries in North-West Europe. These differences between countries amount to more than six euro cents per cubic metre of natural gas. In terms of energy taxes, North-West Europe does not offer greenhouse horticultural holdings a level playing field. Reducted rates and exemptions for greenhouse horticulture exist in all the countries that were researched.

Various types of fuels are used in the greenhouse horticulture sector in each country. Natural gas is the fuel most used in the Netherlands, France and the UK. The dominant fuels in Belgium are natural gas and oil, in Poland coal, and in Denmark and Germany natural gas, coal and oil. Compared to the Netherlands, energy taxes for the Danish and UK greenhouse horticulture sector are higher while they are lower in Belgium and France. Poland does not have an energy tax for the greenhouse horticulture sector. German taxation of natural gas is higher than in the Netherlands yet their taxation of oil and coal is lower.

Lower rates for the greenhouse horticulture sector

The greenhouse horticulture sector is subject to lower rates for energy taxes on natural gas in the Netherlands, oil in Belgium, natural gas, oil and natural gas in Germany, gas and oil in France, coal and natural gas in Poland and natural gas in the UK. Reduced corporate rates are applicable for natural gas in the Danish greenhouse horticulture sector.

Rates and rate structure

Germany, Poland and the UK have a relatively simple rate structure for energy tax. Belgium, Denmark, France and the Netherlands have a more complex rate structure. This complexity is manifested in the guise of a number of types of tax for each form of energy and in the rate structure. The Netherlands and Belgium have a degressive rate structure which results in different costs for companies. Other countries have a flat rate. This flat rate means that taxation for all cubic metres is the same while a degressive tax rate charges the lowest rate for the last unit of fuel that is used. As a result of energy savings, this last unit is often no longer used. Therefore, a flat rate presents a better impetus to promote the reduction of fuel consumption.