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Conservatives' 25-year green plan: main points at a glance

Moves to cut plastic, create a new environmental watchdog and boost wildlife habitats are among the new measures

Plastic and other litter lines the shore of the Thames Estuary in Cliffe, Kent. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Published on The Guardian website on the 11th January 2018

 

Closing the plastic bag charge loophole

One of the most heavily trailed announcements is the end of an exemption for small shops from England’s 5p plastic bag charge. The loophole was an anomaly compared with similar schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It was also imposed against the wishes of corner shop owners at the time, with three small business trade associations opposing being exempted on the grounds it would be confusing for customers. “Its abolition is long overdue,” said Mary Creagh, chair of the environmental audit committee of MPs. The change will affect 3.4bn bags handed out at about 200,000 stores each year.

Encouraging plastic-free supermarket aisles

Wrap, the government’s waste action body, will explore whether supermarkets can introduce aisles where there is no plastic packaging and all the food is loose. The British Retail Consortium, which represents supermarkets, said its members were cutting plastic but that it was sometimes necessary to avoid food waste. It cited shrink-wrapped cucumbers, saying they last five times as long as ones without plastic. The eye-catching proposal is not something that campaigners have pushed hard for, though shoppers often protest on social media against egregious examples such as single bananas encased in plastic. All avoidable plastic waste should end by 2042, the government said.

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