Prime Minister Theresa May will today release details of the UK Government’s long awaited 25 year plan for the environment, with early indications showing some positive steps being made but many details remaining unclear.
The headline commitment is a pledge for the UK to be free of avoidable plastic by 2042, with Government committing to work with retailers by extending the 5p plastic bag charge and pushing for the introduction of plastic free aisles in shops.
Additionally, the Government will explore changes to the tax system to deal specifically with single use plastics in products such as takeaway containers, as well as using Commonwealth and UK aid relationships to help developing nations tackle pollutions.
However, despite some positive messages being included in the speech later today, early responses to the plan from the conservation sector are that there is little in the way of quantifiable targets attached to many parts of the strategy.
ORCA Director Sally Hamilton said: “Whilst it is laudable to aim to remove avoidable plastic waste from our society by 2042, a commitment to deliver on a deadline long beyond the life of this current Government is unrealistic. This strategy could and should have been agreed across all political parties to ensure it has the long-term impact needed to protect the environment."
"Furthermore, despite this being on the right direction of travel, the lack of definable targets in other parts of the plan concerns us that this strategy may end up being more empty rhetoric.”
“However, ORCA are pleased to see issues affecting the marine environment such prominence and the opportunities for protecting whales and dolphins inherent in this 25 year plan, particularly through the £10m fund for school visits and Commonwealth Blue Charter, are indeed welcome additions to the Government’s portfolio.”
The full plan will be announced in a speech later today and marks Theresa May’s first major address on the environment. ORCA will continue to use our research, our experience and our networks to ensure that Government safeguards the oceans for future generations.