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Examination of Witnesses

Part of Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 10th March 2020.

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Rebecca Newsom:

I echo everything that Ali has said. In terms of the target-setting framework and making sure that the long-term and interim targets are comprehensive enough, that really comes down to amendment 1, which would require an appropriate number and type of targets to be set in each priority area. Also, amendment 81 is about requiring the taking of independent advice, and full public consultation, which will inform the target-setting process. Finally, there is the one on ensuring that global footprint is included in the list of priority areas, so that there is a holistic view of the environment nationally and internationally, and improvement across the board is being pushed through that target-setting framework.

While those changes are absolutely vital, there are two areas where, in our opinion, such is the sense of urgency, the evidence base and the public demand for action in the short term that two short-term targets need to be put in the Bill. The first one is the 2020 deforestation target, which I have already touched on. The second would be a 50% plastic packaging reduction target by 2025, which is basically about providing a level playing field for retailers and suppliers, off the back of the voluntary commitment that Sainsbury’s has made, but no others have, and off the back of calls that retailers have made to us. They say they would support a plastic packaging reduction target in law, to allow the drive towards reuse as a level playing field in that sector.