Ok, so not technically our news this month, but, with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, delivering the Spring Statement on 13th March, it felt necessary to focus on this – and its potential impact on our industry.
So, if you haven’t had a chance to hear what he had to say, we’ve outlined the following points relevant to recycling and the environment:
- Hammond said: “This government is determined that our generation should leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it. And improve the quality of the air we breathe.” To help achieve this, he said the government will publish a call for evidence on whether the use of non-agricultural red diesel tax relief contributes to poor air quality in urban areas.
- On the back of their intervention to incentivise green taxis, Hammond also said the government will help van drivers go green by looking into reduced VED (vehicle excise duty) rates for the cleanest vans.
- When talking about tackling the plastics problem, Hammond was quoted saying: “We must take bold action to become a world leader in tackling the scourge of single-use plastic littering our streets, countryside and coastline.” To do so, he announced a call for evidence on how best to use the tax system to drive technological and behavioural change, encourage responsible use of plastic, and look at using alternative materials.
- In addition, Hammond said that £20m from existing budgets is available now to give to businesses and universities, specifically to stimulate new and innovative thinking on the plastics problem, and for research into ways to reduce the impact of plastics on the environment.
The above all sounds positive, but what do the industry experts think? We asked our Managing Director, Don Robins, for his view:
“Plastics are part of modern life, used in so many products that it would be very difficult to live without them. Single-use applications, commonly found in food packaging use a valuable resource that is difficult to recycle. Finding alternatives packaging would be best; Hammond is working towards changing consumer behaviour by the use of the tax system. Both will help reduce the pollution that is invading our environment and our oceans.”
“Hopefully, this will be the start of measures and incentives to reduce all types of waste, make better use of recovered materials, to benefit the UK economy and the environment.”