Craig Mackinlay MP has welcomed the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP’s recent announcement of a 25 Year Environment Plan, to improve our environment for the next generation.
The 25 Year Environment Plan, supported by South Thanet’s MP, pledges to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042, encourages supermarkets to introduce plastic-free aisles in which all the food is loose, and extends the 5p carrier bag charge to all retailers in England. To date, we have used nine billion fewer plastic bags as a direct consequence of introducing the charge.
In addition, there will be a call for evidence next month on a new charge or tax on single-use plastic items, such as takeaway containers, to encourage industry to take more responsibility for the environment.
The announcement comes months after Craig supported Birchington South Councillor, Cllr Suzanne Brimm, cross-party campaign to reduce plastic waste across Thanet. This campaign identified single-use water bottles and plastic straws as key local offenders, often making their way into the marine environment and is encouraging local businesses to offer water refill stations and to roll out paper straws, particularly around Thanet’s popular Blue Flag beaches to reduce waste ending up on our coastlines and the sea.
Plastics can take up to 500 years to decompose, often resulting in the release of toxic substances. The amount of plastic used globally is staggering, with an estimated 165 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans. The UK uses 5 million tonnes of plastic each year, with only 24% recycled.
Craig Mackinlay MP commented:
“It is our duty to leave our planet in a better state for the next generation, with cleaner air, stronger protections for animal welfare and greener spaces.
“Plastics are a scourge of modern life internationally, and growing, with half a trillion (that’s 500,000,000,000) bottles used annually around the world, with a huge amount discarded to landfill or ending up in the sea.
“That is why I have been calling for a wide debate to be had about unnecessary packaging and why, locally I am part of an initiative to reduce the use of plastic bottles with independent Councillor Suzanne Brimm and Thanet Green Party. Together we have sought to encourage a network of Thanet businesses, particularly around our beaches, to allow water bottle refills.
“In addition to this, the Prime Minister’s pledge to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042, encourage supermarkets to introduce plastic-free aisles and extend the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags to all retailers is very welcome news indeed.
“We must continue our extensive work in recent months and show that environmentalism is central to conservatism.”