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Plastic Waste

Volume 635: debated on Thursday 25 January 2018

We are taking a series of measures to reduce the amount of plastic entering the sea. Our plastic bag charge has led to 9 billion fewer single use bags being used in England. Our microbead ban, which comes into force this month, is one of the toughest in the world, but of course we need to work internationally through forums such as the UN, the G7 and the G20.

As the Secretary of State is aware, on 6 February I will be hosting an event in Parliament, together with Sky TV, as part of its ocean rescue campaign, inviting Members of Parliament to pledge to reduce the amount of plastic that they use in this place. Does he agree that it is important that Members take a lead and set an example on this issue, and will he join me in encouraging them to come to that event and to commit to cut the amount of plastic used here?

It is an excellent campaign that Sky has been running, and it is lucky to have my hon. Friend playing such a prominent role, as he has been an outstanding environmental campaigner on this issue for many years. Yes, there is a commitment that we can all make. I also know that the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk Coastal (Dr Coffey), has written to my hon. Friend the Member for Mole Valley (Sir Paul Beresford), the Chair of the Administration Committee, to see what the House can do to ensure that we reduce the amount of single use plastic on the parliamentary estate.

We are indeed considering these matters, and I know that the Secretary of State will feel that there is a song in his heart at the revelation of that development.

The Welsh Labour Government are the third best in the world for recycling, far exceeding their targets this year alone. I am sure that the Secretary of State will join me in congratulating them on that. Can he clarify his position on recycling? He talks a good talk but does little to demonstrate action and is in danger of missing vital EU targets.

I am happy to praise the Welsh Labour Government on this occasion—there are all sorts of things that Labour in Wales gets wrong, but on recycling I think it is only fair that we say well done. More broadly, it is really important that we all do more, and I want to thank you, Mr Speaker, for the commitment that you have shown with regard to the parliamentary estate. Of course we can do more; I can do more. The critical point is that when people are doing the right thing, as they are in Wales, we should applaud them.

I will now go about my business with an additional glint in my eye and spring in my step, confident in the knowledge that I have at least some approval from a person as illustrious and distinguished as the right hon. Gentleman.