Theresa May defends ‘long-term’ plastic waste plan

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Theresa May has defended her 25-year plan to protect the environment as campaigners called for “emergency” action currently.

The prime minister said her long-term strategy, including eradicating all avoidable plastic waste within the UK by 2042, would likely allow future generations to “enjoy a beautiful environment”.

Green groups said the proposals should have legal force.

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn said 25 years was “far too long” to take action.

Unveiling the proposals at London Wetlands Centre, Mrs May vowed which Brexit would likely not lead to environmental standards being lowered, as well as promised her government would likely “leave the natural environment in a better state than we found which”.

Key to This kind of is usually a crackdown on throwaway plastics. Under the government’s plan, supermarkets will be urged to introduce “plastic-free” aisles while taxes as well as charges on single-use items such as takeaway containers will be considered.

Mrs May’s announcements also include:

  • Confirmation of the extension of the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags to all retailers in England
  • Government funding for plastics innovation
  • A commitment to help developing nations tackle pollution as well as reduce plastic waste, including through UK aid

She said: “We look back in horror at some of the damage done to our environment within the past as well as wonder how anyone could have thought which, for example, dumping toxic chemicals into rivers was ever the right thing to do.”

She called plastic waste “one of the great environmental scourges of our time”, adding: “within the UK alone, the amount of single-use plastic wasted every year would likely fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls.”

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Asked after her speech about calls for more urgent action, the PM said the government had already reduced plastic bag usage by nine billion as well as legislated to ban plastic microbeads used in cosmetics as well as cleaning products.

as well as asked about her own environmental credentials, she revealed she had put owl as well as bat boxes in her garden.

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Media captionTheresa May: A plan to ‘nurture’ environment

Some campaigners have warned about the loss of European environmental standards once the UK leaves the EU, although Mrs May promised a brand new “world leading” body to hold the government to account on environmental issues.

However the chairwoman of the Commons Environmental Audit Committee, Labour’s Mary Creagh, said a brand new Act of Parliament was needed after Brexit.

“We don’t want to go back to being the ‘dirty man of Europe’,” she added.


Analysis by the BBC’s Roger Harrabin

Image caption

Many wildflower meadows have been destroyed

Thursday’s announcements are the culmination of an environmental week for the government. On Sunday, Mrs May promised a clampdown on plastic waste. On Wednesday, plans emerged to extend the 5p plastic bag charge to include corner shops in England.

Ministers have been under political pressure to do more for the environment after which was identified by the Tory think-tank Bright Blue as the key issue for young voters, who failed to back the party in large numbers at the 2017 general election.

Environmentalists agree which the government’s plan to restore nature – not just safeguard nature – is usually genuinely radical.

Many of the UK’s landscapes have been ravaged by development, intensive farming as well as sheep grazing. Only 2% of wildflower meadows have survived.

I understand which the document will cover many policy areas, including: managing land sustainably; enhancing nature as well as recovering wildlife; increasing people’s health as well as well-being through nature; resource efficiency, reduction of pollution as well as waste as well as protecting as well as improving the global environment.

although there is usually scepticism about how far the environment department Defra will be able to carry out its plans.

There are huge pressures on the natural world via urgently needed house-building; HS2 threatens scores of ancient woodlands; as well as the Department for Transport features a major road-building programme.

  • Scotland to ban plastic cotton buds
  • Plastic bag charge: 5p levy could be extended

Green campaigners said Mrs May’s plans could simply be shelved if they become inconvenient as well as the promise to stop “avoidable” plastic waste is usually too vague.

“Britain’s natural environment needs a 25-month emergency plan more than which needs a 25-year vision,” said Greenpeace UK’s executive director John Sauven.

“If the government’s aim is usually to get through to young voters, they need to offer change which happens before these youths turn middle-aged.”

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

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Media captionJeremy Corbyn: 25 year plan is usually too long – do which currently

Sue Hayman, Labour’s environment spokeswoman, said the Conservatives had a record of “failure as well as broken promises” on the environment.

She said the “weak” proposals would likely mean the problem with plastic waste was “kicked into the long grass”.

The Liberal Democrats said which “beggared belief” which a target of 2042 had been set for removing plastic waste as well as which action was needed currently.

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