EAC presses Chancellor on plastic tax commitment

Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has published correspondence between its Chair, Mary Creagh MP, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP, regarding Hammond’s commitment to looking at fiscal measures to reduce the prevalence of single-use plastics.

In his Autumn Budget speech in November, Hammond stated that he would ‘investigate how the tax system and charges on single-use plastic items can reduce waste’, in light of growing public concern over the presence of plastic waste in the environment and its negative effects.

EAC presses Chancellor on plastic tax commitment
EAC Chair Mary Creagh has questioned why movement on a single-use plastics ban seems to have stalled
In her letter, Creagh notes the ‘public concern around the impact of plastic pollution on our environment’, and that it is now three months since Hammond made his commitment in the House of Commons. The letter demands clarity on when the consultation will be launched, how long it will run for and whether it will be the Treasury or the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that runs the process.

Commenting on the letter, Creagh said: “Pollution from single use plastic packaging is choking our oceans and devastating marine wildlife. Three months ago, ministers promised to look at using the tax system reduce the use of throwaway plastics, but still have not published a call for evidence. The government has talked the talk on plastics pollution, but it has been too slow to walk the walk”.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove was also copied into the letter. Gove has turned heads since his surprise move to Defra following last year’s general election, largely due to his proactive approach to his new brief, placing significant emphasis on plastic waste, moving forward with a cross-sector plan to tackle plastic packaging and banning plastic microbeads in wash-off cosmetic products at the start of 2018.

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