CPRE praises Government’s National Litter Strategy
The Campaign to Protect Rural England has welcomed the Government’s newly launched National Litter Strategy, which it believes will pave the way to a cleaner England.
The Government has this week launched its National Litter Strategy, which includes a concrete pledge to look into deposit return systems for drinks containers, measures to tackle roadside littering and greater analysis of packaging design.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), who collaborated with Defra on the strategy, welcomed it as a strong vision that paves the way for a cleaner and more resourceful England.
With annual litter costs estimated at around £1 billion, CPRE said the Government had no choice but to attempt to tackle this social, environmental and economic blight more effectively.
The strategy was led by Defra in partnership with DCLG and DfT, with input from an advisory committee of which Samantha Harding, CPRE’s litter programme director, is a member.
The headline proposals include a Voluntary and Economic Measures Working Group to study the potential effectiveness of a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and other drinks containers, as well as measures to tackle other types of commonly littered packaging. CPRE said it hopes the investigations will provide clear recommendations to the Government on which measures will deliver the type of positive, universal change in behaviour delivered by the plastic carrier bag charge.
In similarly significant moves, the strategy lays out plans for an independent assessment of roadside cleanliness on trunk roads where responsibility is shared by Highways England and local councils. The strategy makes it clear that if litter clearance doesn't happen properly after these assessments then the Government will look at transferring all responsibility to Highways England.
As part of efforts to tackle superfluous, poorly designed or single-use plastic packaging, the strategy pledges to investigate better packaging design via a task force set up by the Advisory Committee on Packaging. This will include looking at design aspects such as detachable caps on plastic beverage bottles.
Ms Harding said: “With our annual litter clean-up bill touching £1 billion, the Government knew it had to take action. We are delighted that our collaboration with Defra and the other sectors represented on the advisory group has led to England's first national litter strategy.
“The strong vision of the strategy paves the way for us to enjoy a cleaner and more environment-conscious country. Deposit return systems have had a hugely positive impact on recycling rates abroad, so we hope that we can soon see similarly effective measures introduced here. We now also have plans to tackle the disgraceful levels of litter on our roadsides, and the poor and superfluous packaging – particularly the single-use plastics - that cause so much litter and waste.
“Encouraging recycling, better product design and clearer fines for littering can only be good things for resource efficiency and our environment.