Environmental Protection

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:43 pm on 15th June 2020.

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Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 6:43 pm, 15th June 2020

I beg to move,

That the draft Environmental Protection (Plastic Straws, Cotton Buds and Stirrers) (England) Regulations 2020, which were laid before this House on 19 May, be approved.

Before I begin my remarks, I want to address the issue of why the draft regulations are being brought before the House now instead of earlier in the year. Originally, the regulations were laid in March this year and set to come into force in April. However, in light of the unprecedented situation that this country has faced due to covid-19, they were delayed to reduce the burden placed on industry and to avoid adding further to the demands placed on local authorities.

Many businesses should have been prepared for the ban, given that our plans have been widely publicised, but we received correspondence from many stating that supply chains had faced disruption from the widespread outbreak of covid-19, so sourcing alternatives to single-use plastics had been challenging. We were asked to delay entry into force for a short time while at the peak of this crisis.

Delaying regulations was only a temporary measure in response to the crisis. Our commitment to turning the tide on the widespread use of single-use plastics is as strong as ever, and we seek to limit our impact on the natural environment.