As the Government announced their 25-year Environmental Plan there is criticism from the green community that it doesn't have the legislative weight required to make the pledges stick.
Theresa May announced the plans on Thursday (11th Jan) and stressed their determination to address the problem of marine plastic waste, as well as protecting the wider environment for future generations. This includes plans to extend the 5p charge on plastic bags to smaller shops, to consider a potential tax system for plastic takeaway boxes and eliminate all "avoidable" plastic waste by the end of 2042.
However, this timescale is seen by many as inadequate and Greenpeace has commented that there was also a "missed opportunity" by the PM to introduce a deposit return scheme on plastic bottles, which has worked so successfully in other countries e.g. Denmark, 90% of bottles are returned for recycling, compared with England where only 57% of plastic bottles sold in 2016 were collected for recycling.
There was also an emphasis on private sector innovation, which the Government would work to "encourage and incentivise" via a revitalised Green business council and a new impact fund, including a combination of grants and loans, to help address the limited take up of profitable natural environment projects.
Other initiatives include a plan to 'urge' supermarkets to introduce aisles without any plastic packaging, where all food is sold loose, and May also spoke about the UK demonstrating “global leadership”, to reduce the demand for plastic. However again, there was a distinct lack of actual legislation to support this and although support for green innovation is welcome, one can't help feeling a little disappointed about the lack on mettle on the government’s part.
There is nothing revolutionary in this plan, it is still very much up to private business and consumers to drive the green agenda forward, which is what we at ALLEN & YORK are so proud to be working with employers to do.