Environmental Protection

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:16 pm on 15th June 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 7:16 pm, 15th June 2020

First, I must welcome the shadow Minister. I do not believe we have confronted each other yet. I look forward to working with him, on the Environment Bill in particular, and I thank all other Members who have joined in the debate today. That shows how passionate we are about plastic and getting rid of it, and I will address some of the points that were raised.

I was slightly disappointed that the shadow Minister referred to this as a missed opportunity and said he is highly critical of steps being taken. I believe he is unaware of quite how much is under way, and I look forward to working on the Environment Bill with him and exposing to him just how committed the Government are and how much is being done through not only that Bill, but the resources and waste strategy.

We obviously recognise how important this subject is, and I want to touch on a few of the things that are being done: we already have the microbeads and microplastics ban; there is a huge reduction in single-use carrier bag usage; we have launched the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance, which was referred to just now, to stimulate global action; and we are delivering on our promises through the resources and waste strategy and seeking powers through the Environment Bill. Under those powers, there will be a charge for single-use plastic items, the deposit return scheme for drinks containers will be introduced, the packaging waste regulations will be reformed, and greater consistency in household and business recycling collections will be introduced—I touched on that earlier.