Environment Bill brings more producer responsibility and plastic export ban

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Theresa Villiers Environment Secretary
Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers
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The Government will introduce its Environment Bill before Parliament today that will make manufacturers responsible for the products they bring to market.

However, a new development is that the Bill will also create a power to ban exports of recycled plastic to developing countries.

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The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has promised to “transform the way we manage our waste” by requiring producers to take more responsibility for the products and materials they place on the market, including when they become waste.

The Bill will also introduce measures to introduce a consistent approach to recycling, tackling waste crime, creating powers to introduce a deposit return scheme and having more effective litter enforcement.

It will also enable charges for single use plastic items to be launched that will incentivise use of reusable alternatives.

On the ban on exporting plastic waste to developing countries, the Government has said it will consult with industry, NGOs and local authorities on specific restrictions or prohibitions.

As well as the creation of the previously announced independent Office for Environmental Protection that the Government intends to launch, the Government will also conduct a review every two years of significant developments in international legislation to ensure it keeps abreast of anything that might drive forward environmental protection legislation.

This review will be published and its findings will be factored into its Environmental Improvement Plan and environment target setting process, both of which will be enshrined in law.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “We are facing climate change and our precious natural environment is under threat. We need to take decisive action.

“We have set out our pitch to be a world leader on the environment as we leave the EU and the Environment Bill is a crucial part of achieving this aim. It sets a gold standard for improving air quality, protecting nature, increasing recycling and cutting down on plastic waste.

“This will build on the UK’s strong track record as the first major economy to commit to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and will drive further action in this super year for the environment, culminating in the UK welcoming the world to the COP26 UN Climate Conference in November in Glasgow.”

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