Chancellor Phillip Hammond has stated that he will announce a call for evidence in his Spring Statement tomorrow (12 March) to “bring about real change” in plastics recycling.
This follows on from a pledge in his Autumn Budget last year to look into how the tax system and charges on single-use plastics could reduce waste.
In an article yesterday in The Sun, the chancellor said he has “woken up only recently to the scourge of single-use plastic waste”, and will work across the board in the upcoming call for evidence.
Mr Hammond said: “The call for evidence on single-use plastics, [will] gather ideas from manufacturers, retailers, green groups — and the British public — on how to bring about real change.”
He added: “We will be looking at a wide range of things, from new materials and more efficient recycling methods to changing set habits through taxes and charges. Far from adding extra burdens to business, this will be designed to incentivise innovation, stimulate creativity and unleash the great British entrepreneurial spirit.”
Support research into alternatives for single-use plastics by British universities is expected to be encouraged by the chancellor.
The Spring Statement is one of two statements the chancellor makes to the parliament each year. Since 2016, the budget is announced in November with a Spring Statement following the next year.
The long-awaited call for evidence was announced last November as part of the 2017 budget, promising a call for action in the early part of this year.
Previously, the seeming lack of action had been criticised, including by shadow environment secretary Mary Creagh, who said at the Kit Strange memorial lecture last month that plastics was used just for good headlines (see letsrecycle.com story).
The move also comes soon after the government ruled out introducing a 25p so called ‘latte levy’ on coffee cups in the near future, which was widely criticised by environmental campaigners.
However, the government has also promised to issue a call for evidence on a Deposit Return Scheme and also to include incentives for plastics recycling in the upcoming Waste and Resource Strategy.