LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May mentioned on Thursday she would eradicate avoidable plastic waste by 2042, a part of a “national plan of action” she hopes will present that her government is about extra than simply Brexit.
Unveiling a brand new environmental agenda which she mentioned was now “centre stage”, May is eager to place divisions over leaving the European Union, scandals and an ill-judged election behind her and attempt to broaden the enchantment of her Conservative Party.
But whereas welcomed, her strikes to increase a 5 pence cost for a single-use plastic bag to all retailers, to have packaging-free aisles in supermarkets and to create a brand new Northern Forest have been additionally criticised by some lawmakers for not going far sufficient.
She advised an viewers in west London that her celebration had made an necessary pledge “to make ours the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it.”
“As we leave the European Union which for decades has controlled some of the most important levers in environmental policy, now is the right time to put the question of how we project and enhance our natural environment centre stage.”
After a shaky begin to the yr when a reshuffle of her high crew of ministers fell flat, May needs to point out that her premiership is extra than simply Brexit and has chosen environmental reform to attempt to win over voters.
Her Conservatives are beneath strain from the primary opposition Labour Party, which is having fun with file ranges of membership and has challenged May over her treatment of Britain’s much-loved however over-stretched well being service.
Her surroundings minister, Michael Gove, who ran towards May in a 2016 management contest, has launched some inexperienced insurance policies: defending bees by limiting some pesticides and banning microbeads – tiny items of plastic in some cosmetics that are coming into the world’s oceans.
But the most recent strikes have been described as “vague” by the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas.
“Focusing on only the low hanging fruits of environmental protection is like treating heart disease with a bypass, without changing your diet or taking up regular exercise,” she mentioned in an announcement. “It’s not a serious, sustainable solution for the long term.”
Greenpeace UK’s govt director John Sauven mentioned: “If Theresa May wants to persuade people this is more than just husky-hugging, she needs to put some joined-up thinking at the heart of her strategy.”
May, who mentioned she usually recycles and has barn owl, bat and chook packing containers in her backyard, mentioned she would take a look at plastic bottle deposits and would launch a name for proof subsequent month on whether or not to impose taxes or fees on single use plastics.
Worries about overuse of two.5 billion disposable espresso cups every year have additionally been raised by campaigners. Parliament’s environmental audit committee final week known as for a 25 pence “latte levy” to be charged scorching drinks.
Editing by Stephen Addison and Peter Graff