Chancellor Announces Tax On Plastic Packaging Tackling Ocean Pollution

LONDON (Alliance News) - A tax on plastic packaging which does not contain enough recycled ...

Alliance News 29 October, 2018 | 6:03PM
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LONDON (Alliance News) - A tax on plastic packaging which does not contain enough recycled materials is to be introduced to tackle plastic pollution in the oceans and countryside.

Under Government plans, the production and import of plastic packaging from April 2022 which does not include at least 30% recycled plastic will face a levy to make sustainable packaging more economically attractive.

Plastics have been high up the agenda in the wake of the BBC's Blue Planet II series and media campaigns.

But the Chancellor Philip Hammond shied away from a "latte levy" on disposable coffee and other drinks cups, claiming it would not on its own deliver a decisive shift in behaviour.

He faced criticism from environmental groups for failing to address climate change and clean growth in his Budget speech, which comes three weeks after a major UN report warned the global economy and society faces a huge transformation in the next decade to prevent dangerous global warming.

The tax on plastic material was welcomed by campaign group A Plastic Planet's co-founder Sian Sutherland as the "leadership we needed".

"By taxing virgin plastic we will prevent the continual misuse of this indestructible material. We can now start to build the foundations for the UK to be a world leader in the new biomaterials of the future," she said.

The government has also unveiled GBP50 million in credits to support the planting of 10 million trees to tackle carbon emissions, and GBP10 million between 2019 and 2023 for community street trees and urban trees.

The Woodland Trust's director of conservation Abi Bunker said the support for more trees "while a welcome start, is only a step in the right direction to re-green our deforested country and tackle our climate change crisis".

She warned the GBP30 billion road investment, with many ancient woodland and trees under threat from new developments, threw a shadow over the announcement.

The Chancellor also came under fire from environmentalists for freezing fuel duty for the ninth consecutive year, maintaining support for oil and gas, failing to support onshore wind and solar, and not being ambitious enough on taxing plastics.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said that in the wake of the UN report on preventing climate catastrophe, the UK had urgently needed an emergency budget with "major investment in green energy and jobs to protect the planet".

"It's unforgivable that Philip Hammond failed to even mention climate change," she said.

Wildlife and Countryside Link, which represents 18 environmental groups, said rapid, dramatic and fully-funded environmental commitments were needed on plastic pollution, climate and preserving soils.

Link director Elaine King said: "With only a decade to turn the tide on plastic pollution and limit the catastrophic impacts of climate change, and little longer to save our soils, the environment must be a top Government priority if our children, our wildlife and our planet are not to pay a terrible price."

Friends of the Earth plastic campaigner Julian Kirby added: "It's astonishing that the Chancellor has gone cold on a 'latte levy', just when we needed him to turn up the heat on plastic polluters."

By Emily Beament, Press Association Environment Correspondent

source: Press Association

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