25 Year Environment Plan

Last week, Prime Minister Theresa May, outlined her vision to create a ‘cleaner, greener’ Britain when she launched the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

The main aim is to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by 2042 and follows a high profile campaign in sections of the media to tackle the problems that plastic can cause.

Since the 5p carrier bag charge came into force in October 2015, nine billion fewer bags have been used. This is a reduction of 83 per cent and the charge is now being extended to all retailers. This scheme, which has encouraged everyone to think about using reusable bags and recycling old ones, has succeeded in significantly reducing the number of plastic bags being used.

Earlier this month, the Government introduced a ban on the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products.  I hope this will have a positive impact, especially for marine life, where evidence of microbeads has been found and which inevitably end up in the food chain.

The world’s oceans are badly affected by pollution with around eight million tonnes of plastic finding its way into the water every year.

Plastic drinking bottles are some of the biggest pollutants and some innovative schemes are being considered to reduce their usage. The biggest problem remains the failure to discard the plastic in a considerate way. Plastic that is properly recycled is not the biggest problem; it is litter that ends up in the seas and rivers that causes the most damage.

On Tuesday the supermarket chain Iceland announced it is to go ‘plastic-free’ in its own brand packaging. This industry-led initiative will be welcomed by many.

Pollution of all kinds is a blight on our communities and I am pleased the Government is taking a lead and making this issue a priority so that our environment is preserved and protected for generations to come.