Monday, 29 January 2018

Scott leads Lambeth to become London's first plastic-free borough

Streatham councillor Scott Ainslie's proposal for Lambeth  to be part of the 'plastic-free pledge' has been passed – making Lambeth the first London borough to commit to phasing out single-use-plastics such as bottles, cutlery and drinking straws.

The Green Party councillor for St Leonard's ward proposed that the council should become a 'single-use-plastic (SUP) free' authority by the end of April 2018. A last week's full council meeting, Labour councillors toned down the wording with amendments which instead asked the council to 'explore' the possibility 'by the end of 2018'.

The motion passed included commitments to explore:
  • phasing out the SUPs through the Council's supply chain;
  • ending the sale and provision of SUP products such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws in council buildings;
  • working with tenants and operators in commercial properties owned by Lambeth Council to do the same at meetings and events;
  • the possibility of requiring pop-up food and drink vendors at council events to avoid SUPs as a condition of their contract;
  • providing support for businesses, organisations and residents to go 'single-use-plastic-free' and find sustainable alternatives;
  • imposing conditions relating to the use of SUPs on festival organisers using its parks.
The motion follows other activities in councils across the country, with Mendip District Council agreeing to become SUP-free by the end of April, and Brighton and Hove Council passing a motion to ban the sale of all SUPs in their council buildings and agencies [3].
Cllr Ainslie said: "I'm proud that where Greens lead other parties follow and in Lambeth, Greens are leading the borough to becoming a single-use-plastic pledge borough and the first in London to pass this kind of motion.

"However, I'm disappointed Labour altered the motion to show they only commit to "exploring" this, and extended the deadline by eight months.

"What I want, and what I think most of the general public want, is clear ACTION on this issue, not an extended period of relaxed pondering. Time is running out as more environmental damage is done.

"I feel passionately about this issue and feel that it's every person and every organisation's duty to reduce plastic use. The amount of plastic generated in the UK is estimated to be 5 million tonnes. Plastic pollution alone could be costing developing and industrialised nations up to $1.27 Billion annually as it threatens fishing, shipping and tourism - and this is before we even begin to talk about the obvious damage plastics do to marine life."

Read the Evening Standard's coverage of this story here.

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