Today, South West Bedfordshire MP, Andrew Selous spoke on the Environment Bill calling for the end of the increasing production of single use plastic as well as harsher fines for those caught fly-tipping. Mr Selous also requested that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs look in to ‘Fairtrade’ style scheme for rainforest commodity sourcing.
Andrew Selous said,
‘While I welcome the measures in the Bill to standardise the collection of plastic waste across all local authorities, I remain very concerned at the continued increase in the production of single-use plastic. Too much of this plastic ends up as litter around our country and around the world, harming human, animal and marine health. We must start to reduce the amount of single-use plastic we make, as some of the projections for its continued production are truly alarming.
We also need to massively improve our performance on littering and fly-tipping. Part of the area in my constituency that a group of us cleared up litter from on Saturday as part of the Great British Spring Clean was already covered in litter again by Sunday. As Lord Kirkham said in the Queen’s Speech debate,
“research suggests that we have few, if any, rivals for the unwanted title of ‘most littered country in the developed world’…It is soul-destroying and dangerous to humans and animals; it pollutes the very air we breathe; it depresses and saps a nation’s morale.”
We need more covert cameras to catch the culprits and more prosecutions, with greater fines, to act as a significant deterrent. Parents and schools need to do their bit to deter the next generation from littering, which is not only antisocial but criminal.
I am told by South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth that we have, at times, continuous sewage discharge into the River Ouzel, which is a valuable wildlife corridor through Leighton Buzzard. There are very low numbers of freshwater shrimps in the river, and a chemical quality that was good in 2015 and 2016 was reported as a fail in 2019, according to the Environment Agency. We will therefore need to continue to strengthen legislation on continuous sewage discharges.
While I warmly welcome the world-leading parts of this Bill to mandate larger businesses not to source commodities from illegally deforested land, I am concerned about commodities sourced from legally deforested land, and rainforests in particular. I would like to see a certification scheme, similar to the Fairtrade one, so that we can all be reassured that the food we are eating has not come to us at the expense of virgin rainforests."