A new law to tackle the scourge of plastic will be announced in next week’s Queen’s Speech.
Ministers will bring forward legislation that, for the first time, introduces a legally-binding target for eliminating avoidable plastic waste.
The Environmental Bill will give ministers the powers to create a bottle deposit scheme, make packaging producers cover the costs of dealing with litter, and allow new national rules that end the postcode lottery on recycling.
A new law to tackle the scourge of plastic will be announced in next week’s Queen’s Speech (stock image)
It will also include measures to reduce air pollution.
The legislation is a landmark victory for the Daily Mail’s Turn The Tide On Plastic campaign, which has highlighted the blight of plastic pollution.
A Government source last night said the measures would help ‘protect and preserve this planet for generations’.
‘The Conservatives have already made huge progress in tackling plastic pollution – banning plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds, and cracking down on plastic bag usage, with plastic bag sales down by 90 per cent since the charge was introduced in 2015,’ said the source.
‘But we need to keep going further to tackle plastic pollution.
‘This is why Monday’s Queen Speech is expected to include a comprehensive framework for legally-binding targets covering plastics – set to tackle plastic pollution and encourage consumers to reuse existing plastic items rather than simply use them once.’
As part of the Bill, producers of packaging will be required to reimburse the full cost of the collection, sorting, disposal and recycling of what they place on the market. This will include plastics.
It is thought that fewer than 60 per cent of bottles are currently being recycled in the UK (stock image)
The new powers will also allow for an extra levy to cover the costs of dealing with litter.
Manufacturers will be required by law to mark packaging so it is clear whether or not it can be recycled, and ministers will end the postcode lottery on collections.
At present, councils are free to decide what they recycle and there is a huge disparity on plastic waste, with some collecting every type – and some taking none at all.
Around a third refuse to take ‘rigid plastics’ – including yoghurt pots and margarine tubs. Nationwide standards would ensure that as far as possible councils collect the same items.
The Bill will also give ministers the powers they need to introduce a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.
Such initiatives have boosted recycling in European countries. It involves adding a small deposit to the cost of a drink – which ranges from 5p to 22p on the Continent.
The deposit is paid back when empties are returned to ‘reverse vending machines’ located in supermarkets.
The Mail has called for the introduction of such an initiative following the success of the 5p charge on single-use plastic bags.
An estimated 35million plastic bottles and 20million aluminium cans are sold in the UK every day.
Fewer than 60 per cent of bottles are recycled.
The Queen will not wear her Imperial Crown at the State of Opening of Parliament next week (pictured at State Opening of Parliament in 2016)
Is Imperial Crown now too heavy?
The Queen will not wear her Imperial Crown at the State of Opening of Parliament next week in a significant break with tradition.
The decision will spark speculation that the crown – weighing 2.3lb and containing 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires and 17 emeralds – is too heavy for the monarch to wear in her advancing years.
Instead, the crown will be carried into the Houses of Parliament on Monday as a symbol of the Queen’s authority, as it was the last time she chose not to wear it, in 2017.
The Queen, 93, is expected to wear the lighter George IV diadem.
It features four crosses alternating with bouquets representing different parts of the United Kingdom: roses, thistles and shamrocks.
It features 1,333 diamonds, although it was shrunk by Queen Alexandra in 1902, who removed 11 diamonds to fit her smaller head.
The Queen Mother also had it resized.
The Queen, 93, is instead expected to wear the lighter George IV diadem (pictured)