Many thanks for this. I read the Plastic Pollution Bill with interest and certainly commit to support its aims. I would go so far as to offer to sit on the Committee because I do believe that only through a combination of behaviour change and scientific understanding of the life cycle impacts of the materials we use, will we be able to combat plastic pollution and also reduce carbon emissions. I have some policy experience in this area.
I also fully support a full ban on fracking, so does the Labour Party. There is no need at all to start down a road of setting up further fossil fuel extraction infrastructure when we should be focussing all our energies to reducing energy consumption and replacing fossil fuels with renewables.
We wrote to Sarah for clarification of the Labour Party’s support for the aims of the Plastic Pollution Bill. This is her response:
In order to answer these specific questions, I’ll need to go to the Shadow DEFRA team and it’s unlikely they’ll get back to me before the end of the week. However, in order for me to pitch our policy against the requirements above, I’ll ask a few questions/ make a couple of observations if that’s ok?
1. Is there a standing definition of ‘non-essential’ single use from your perspective? In my view this would keep plastics that are used in medically sterile environments for example as ‘essential’. It would also be useful to discuss the ‘essential’ nature of food packaging when the packaging is reduced to an absolute minimum but the life of the food is extended. There are shades of grey there, especially where the CO2e of an alternative packaging material may be higher.
2. Our plans for waste and recycling, litter reduction and our Plan for Nature would certainly comply with your point 2 I think.
3. I also believe our plans to readdress material use and reduce CO2 emissions associated with throwaway culture would coincide with your point 3. Again, we would need to ensure ‘non-essential’ was appropriately and adequately defined to a) avoid loopholes, and b) avoid perverse outcomes where the least harm should be done through choosing plastic and disposing of it back into a circular economy.
4. Our Plan for Nature seeks to protect and restore our natural environment so I therefore believe your point 4 would be included. I feel that we need to be more explicit in our work to counter plastic waste. I am content that it is our intent, but (given my professional interest too) it would be better to be clearer. A point for me to make to Shadow DEFRA team.
Our Plan for Nature is here if you are interested?: https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/FINAL-FOR-WEB_13172_19-Environment-Manifesto.pdf
I hope this is helpful?
Plastic pollution: Labour Party support for the Plastic Pollution Bill is not clear. Further detail is required for a more precise answer.
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.