Welsh Conservatives lead calls for plastics ban on Assembly Estate

Welsh Conservatives are spearheading calls to ban single-use plastics across the National Assembly for Wales’ estate.

 

In a letter addressed to the Presiding Officer, David Melding AM – the Shadow Secretary for the Environment - has called on the Assembly Commission to:

 

  • ‘Take part in the Plastic Free July initiative across all of the Assembly’s estates’; and
  • ‘Commit to the long-term phasing out of single-use plastics across the Assembly estate in line with - or bettering - the targets that are set by the private sector.’

 

The letter was written following the success of a statement of opinion that was circulated by Mr Melding to Assembly Members in April.

 

Other parliaments across the UK are taking action in a bid to cut plastic pollution, with the Scottish government banning single-use coffee cups in its main buildings.

 

In the letter – dated 21st May – the South Wales Central AM specifically mentions single-use plastics such as ‘plastic cutlery, plastic cups and polystyrene food trays’, all of which are available in the main restaurant of the Ty Hywel building in Cardiff Bay.

 

Calling for action, Mr Melding, said:

“There has been a dramatic shift in public perception towards the use of plastics across the world, and as a Parliament it is only right that we lead the way.

“Other organisations have committed to phasing out the use of all single-use plastics across their sites by 2020 and the Welsh Assembly should adopt a similar, if not more ambitious, approach.

“We are seeing a significant shift in public perception towards the use of plastics across the world and there is a danger that the politicians will be playing catch-up to what is a rapidly growing movement.

“Before we start calling for others to make these changes, let’s get our own house in order”. 

 

ENDS/

 

Notes to editors:

 

A copy of the letter David Melding sent to the Presiding Officer, Elin Jones AM, on the 21st May is below:

 

Dear Elin,

 

I write to you in response to the support that I have received for a statement of opinion (SOI) that I circulated on the 17th April 2018 - I have attached a copy for your convenience. In my SOI I have made reference to ‘Plastic Free July’, an initiative that challenges people to stop using single-use plastics.

 

As you will be aware, there has been a significant shift in public perception on the use of plastics due to the material’s recognised detrimental impact on the environment. More so, several private sector organisations are leading the way to permanently cut down the use of such materials on their sites, including:

 

-              The BBC are phasing out the use of all single-use plastics across all their sites by 2020

-              More than 40 companies, including Britain’s biggest supermarkets, Coca Cola, Nestle and Procter & Gamble, have all vowed to tackle pollution by committing to cut plastic use over the next seven years.

-              The supermarket chain Iceland has said it would go plastic-free within five years to help end the “scourge” of plastic pollution

 

In the Ty Hywel building restaurant, I have noticed the availability of plastic cutlery, plastic cups and polystyrene food trays; all single-use plastic items that the above organisations are taking strong action to remove. As I have previously argued in the Assembly Chamber, it seems like the politicians are now playing catch-up on what is a rapidly growing movement.

 

I am writing to you in response to the cross party support that I have received on my SOI (20 Assembly Members have now subscribed), and to ask the Assembly Commission; firstly, to take part in the Plastic Free July initiative across all of the Assembly’s estates; and secondly, to commit to the long term phasing out of single-use plastics across the Assembly estate in line with - or bettering - the targets that are set by the private sector.