Government’s Plan for our Environment Welcome but Underwhelming

11 January 2018, Ross Matthewman

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has cautiously welcomed Government’s commitment to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within a quarter of a century, but has warned the proof will be in the full plan and not just the headlines trailed in the media.

The Government’s new 25 Year Environment will be launched later today by the Prime Minister, and looks set to include plans to phase out all avoidable plastic waste by 2042. Steps to achieve this will include extending the 5p carrier bag charge to all retailers in England, and working with supermarkets to encourage them to introduce plastic-free aisles.

The government has also announced that it will also look at how the tax system or charges can be used to pressure industry into using less plastic, with a call for evidence on how to reduce the use of single-use plastics begging next month.

Speaking in advance of the Prime Minister’s speech, Tony Lewis, Head of Policy at CIEH said:

“The Government’s commitment to improving our environment has been widely touted, and is something we are greatly heartened by. We are encouraged to see that our strong calls for new taxes on plastics, and funding for research into reducing wider plastic consumption, are under serious consideration.

However, the measures that have been trailed by the Prime Minister are modest at best, and it is difficult to not see this as a missed opportunity. 25 years is simply too long to wait for dangerous plastic pollution to be eradicated.

If the Prime Minister is serious about safeguarding Britain’s environment, immediate action is needed on things such as diesel cars and introducing the latte levy, before considering further action to deter industry and consumers from unsustainable plastic consumption.

Although we await seeing the full plan, congratulations must go to Michael Gove for actually driving forward action in a vital area that has been neglected by his predecessors.”


Notes to editors

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About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):   

The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing more than 8,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved. 

Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. The CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.  

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