PM wages war on plastic in new environment plan

12 January, 2018, 03:28 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Ministers are considering extending the plastic bag levy to small businesses

The prime minister said her long-term strategy, including eradicating all avoidable plastic waste in the United Kingdom by 2042, would allow future generations to "enjoy a handsome environment".

"In 2015, we introduced the 5 pence charge on plastic carrier bags, we now see 9 billion fewer bags being used", said the premier, who signalled the move last week.

Green and animal welfare policies have become one of the key tenants of Tory party messaging since the 2017 election, with Environment Secretary Michael Gove winning praise for his first six months in the job.

"They should start by rolling out more robust and swift measures to stop plastic waste harming our oceans, clean up illegal air pollution and support the clean energy sources that can help stop climate change".

The plan also encourages the development of "plastic-free supermarket aisles".

Reacting to the speech Deborah Tomkins, also from Green Christian, said: "It's a good start in the right direction, I think we can all agree with that..."

"Through this plan we will build on our reputation as a global leader in environmental protection, creating an environment everyone can enjoy and helping the next generation flourish".

Theresa May has set out plans to get rid of avoidable plastic waste within 25 years - as she also confirmed the 5p bag charge will be extended to all shops.

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Sue Hayman, the shadow environment secretary, said the 5p bag charge was already in place for smaller shops in Scotland and Wales, meaning the government was "simply playing catch-up".

Mrs May said the government will lead by example and remove all single-use plastic from its offices. "To tackle it we will take action at every stage of the production and consumption of plastic".

On plastics, Mrs May said: "Today I can confirm that the United Kingdom will demonstrate global leadership on plastics. and we must reduce demand and increase recycling rates".

Speaking about the plastic bag levy, Mary Creagh, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, added: "Single-use plastics are devastating our natural environment, whether they are beads, bags or bottles".

Greenpeace questioned why there was no mention of deposit return schemes for bottles - which the government has said it will consider - while Friends of the Earth said a "clear timetable" not "woolly promises" was needed.

The British Government wishes to become a leader in dealing with the plastics crisis and use aid money to help developing countries reduce plastic waste, increase marine protected areas in the United Kingdom and establish a "blue belt" of protected marine environment territories overseas.

Also under examination is a call from the all-party Environmental Audit Committee of MPs last week for urgent action to curb the mountain of up to five billion disposable coffee cups dumped each year, nearly none of which are recycled.

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