25 Year Environment Plan launches

Prime Minister Theresa May has launched the 25 Year Environment Plan with the aim of leaving the environment in a better state than we found it.

She will outline steps for a greener Britain, with avoidable plastic waste eliminated by the end of 2042.

To help achieve this, the government will extend the 5p carrier bag charge to all retailers in England.

The government will also work with supermarkets to encourage them to introduce plastic-free aisles in which all the food is loose.

This will give consumers to the choice to make greener decisions and promote the use of less damaging plastic packaging.

To encourage industry to make more responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products, the government will also look at how the tax system or charges could further reduce the amount of waste we create.

In addition, new funding will be injected into plastics innovation through a bid into the government’s £7 billion research and development pot.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce plans to help more children engage with the environment. This will be delivered through £10 million for school visits and a Nature Friendly Schools programme to create school grounds which allow young people to learn more about the natural world, targeting schools in disadvantaged areas first.

In a speech, Theresa May is expected to say: “We look back in horror at some of the damage done to our environment in the past and wonder how anyone could have thought that, for example, dumping toxic chemicals, untreated, into rivers was ever the right thing to do.

“In years to come, I think people will be shocked at how today we allow so much plastic to be produced needlessly.

“In the UK alone, the amount of single-use plastic wasted every year would fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls.

“This plastic is ingested by dozens of species of marine mammals and over 100 species of sea birds, causing immense suffering to individual creatures and degrading vital habitats. One million birds, and over 100,000 other sea mammals and turtles die every year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste. One in three fish caught in the English Channel contains pieces of plastic.

“This truly is one of the great environmental scourges of our time.

“Today I can confirm that the UK will demonstrate global leadership. We must reduce the demand for plastic, reduce the number of plastics in circulation and improve our recycling rates. To tackle it we will take action at every stage of the production and consumption of plastic.”