This week saw further action as part of plans to secure a Green Brexit upon this country’s departure from the European Union.
A consultation has been published on the Environmental Principles & Governance Bill. The legislation will ensure environmental protections will not be weakened as we leave the EU, as well as establishing a world-leading body to hold government to account for environmental outcomes.
This organisation will support the commitment for us to be the first generation to leave our environment in a better state than that in which we inherited it. It will also provide scrutiny and advice on the protection of landscapes, wildlife and natural assets, and would be able to hold government accountable on environmental legislation. Anyone looking to have their say in this consultation can click here to take part. Crawley residents would be most welcome to copy me in on any submission.
Earlier this year, a ban on the manufacture of products containing plastic microbeads, which can do serious damage to marine life, came into force. As a result of UK action, manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care items will no longer be able to add these pieces of plastic to ‘rinse-off’ products such as shower gels and toothpastes. This is an issue I’ve raised previously with the Prime Minister in the House of Commons and I welcome the Government’s attention.
Recently, the Environment Secretary announced plans for a deposit return scheme to increase recycling rates and reduce the volumes of waste polluting our land and seas.
Of the 13 billion plastic drinks bottles used each year by UK consumers, more than three billion are incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute our streets, countryside and marine environment.
A further change which we’ve noticed when doing the weekly shop is the 5 pence plastic bag charge. The result of this has been 9 billion fewer plastic bags used since the charge was introduced in 2015. Marine life around our shores is safer and there are fewer plastic bags going into landfill sites.
As a result of UK leadership on the global stage, last month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London saw countries from around the world join the UK-led Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance. This agreement is being backed up with a £61 million package of funding to boost global research and help prevent plastic waste from entering the oceans in the first place.
There’s more to be done and I’ll continue to pursue the concerns of Crawley residents with the Government.
Henry Smith MP