Thank you for your email. On the question of legislation, we will introduce our flagship Environment Bill. Leaving the EU is a defining opportunity for the UK to set its own course and take ambitious action to protect our natural environment for future generations. We are taking world leading action to take on the scourge of plastics. We have already banned plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds from April 2020 and the Environment Bill encourages producers to cut waste and protect our water resources.
This is on top of the action we have taken to ban microbeads, which can be so harmful in our waterways . Thanks to our efforts, plastic bag sales are down 90% since 2015 and the fee we introduced is being used for environmental causes.
Our manifesto announced that we will introduce a new levy to increase the proportion of recyclable plastics in packaging, introduce extended producer responsibility so that producers pay the full costs of dealing with the waste they produce. We will ban the export of plastic waste to non- OECD countries, consulting with industry, NGOs and local councils on the date by which this should be introduced.
You will know that I engage regularly with SCAN on the fracking issue and am very supportive of the Refill campaign.
The Government’s very recent announcement to suspend fracking is a welcome measure – its effect is to put the burden on applicants to demonstrate that the fracking doesn’t cause tremors. Having listened to local communities, we will not support fracking unless the science shows categorically that it can be done safely. I personally do not believe that this burden will be discharged by any future applicants.
I am very happy to support the aims of the Plastic Pollution Bill.
I hope that this helps and thanks again for getting in touch.
Robert Buckland has committed to support the aims of the Plastic Pollution Bill but hasn’t indicated whether his party commits to those aims. Hence, we signified that only a partial answer is given. We have contacted him for clarification but he has not yet answered.
Robert Buckland has stated that fracking in the UK is only suspended and not permanently banned, as suggested by some articles. He supports a permanent ban unless a condition is met, ‘unless the science shows categorically that it can be done safely’. He goes on to state, ‘I personally do not believe that this burden will be discharged by any future applicants’. This is not a commitment. Therefore we signified a that the response was conditional.
This letter is in response to a letter that we sent to all of Swindon’s parliamentary candidates for the 2019 general election. See this post for details.