Local Liberal Democrats are calling for a “Plastic Free Lewes”. They are asking for a ban on non-biodegradable coffee cups, a plastic bottle return scheme and the provision of recycling bins for other types of plastic waste. This follows the Budget announcement this week that the Chancellor is looking to raise a charge on plastic waste.
“There is national recognition that plastic waste is a major environmental challenge, blighting our landscapes and poisoning our seas,” said Oli Henman, an environmental campaigner and Lewes Lib Dems Town Council candidate.
This latest move follows a Liberal Democrat campaign to introduce a charge on plastic bags, disposable coffee cups and plastic bottles, to reduce the mountains of waste thrown away in the UK each year.
Echoing Tim Farron MP’s comments, Oli Henman said: “This is a major victory for the environment and for the Liberal Democrats, who have long been demanding action to tackle plastic waste. We now need to make sure this consultation leads to real action and isn’t just kicking the cup down the road. Tough measures are needed to reduce plastic debris polluting our rivers, seas and countryside”.
This year Liberal Democrat environment spokesman for Lewes District Council, Cllr Vic Ient, successfully persuaded the Conservative administration at Lewes District Council to mount a publicity campaign to try and persuade local retail businesses to move over to fully biodegradable coffee cups.
Councillor Ient said, “Now that the Chancellor seems to be backing this campaign perhaps the local Conservative controlled council will put their shoulder behind the campaign to rid our streets, countryside and seaside of plastic. Oli Henman has written to the chief executive of the District Council, Rob Cottrill, asking him to initiate a Plastic Free Lewes campaign. Oli added “This campaign should include a plastic bottle return scheme, a move to get all takeaway businesses to use biodegradable coffee cups, incentives for customers to adopt a re-use coffee cup and a move away from plastic packaging altogether!”
Lewes Liberal Democrats have also asked the South Downs National Park, who are the planning authority for part of the Lewes area, to strengthen their local plan to include policies to control waste plastic. Oli Henman said “If we can reduce the amount of litter thrown away, the cost to the council for clearing up litter can be reduced. As I have seen at the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, plastic waste is a global problem polluting all landscapes and seas. Let’s make the National Park plastic free!”
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