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Thursday 1 March: The One Show and the ‘plastic free' challenge and Secretary of State's speech at Water UK's City Conference

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The One Show and the ‘plastic free' challenge


Last night, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey appeared on The One Show on BBC One to meet the Proud family from Manchester and discuss their challenge to be ‘plastic free’.

Minister Coffey thanked the family for raising awareness of recycling plastic through a visit they made to a local recycling plant and changing their daily routine to reduce the amount of plastic-wrapped items they used. She also highlighted her own personal commitment to reduce single use plastics in her daily life, making use of a refillable drinks bottle for water and taking part in a plastic free challenge with other MPs.

The Minister reminded the public that whilst plastic does have a role to play due to health and hygiene considerations for some products it was important that viewers consider using alternatives to plastic.

Pop singer, Lulu, revealed she uses a bamboo reusable coffee cup.

The programme’s environment reporter Lucy Siegle asked about the introduction of a deposit return scheme (DRS) for plastic bottles and Minister Coffey explained some of the systems she had seen while visiting Norway, Sweden and Denmark during December 2017.

Speaking on the programme, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:

The front end, when you walk up as the consumer with your bottles, all looks the same, but actually the way it gets processed at the back end, the way it is all financed, is really quite different.

We need something that is going to work in this country and we have a greater use of on-the-go products, more than anywhere else in Europe, so we need to do something that is going to be effective, not something that is just going to scratch the surface. Officials are working on this at the moment, but we have also had some experts looking at this to give us some advice and all I’ll say is work is underway.

Secretary of State Water UK speech

Photo of Secretary of State, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

Environment Secretary Michael Gove today delivered a speech at Water UK’s annual city conference.

He commended a number of water companies for their work, including United Utilities and Wessex Water, and for their ‘industry leading’ ratings in their Environment Agency 2017 Environmental Performance Assessment, but went on to make clear his belief that the system wasn’t working as well as it should, with some companies not being as transparent as possible or paying corporation tax. He called for action to reduce the three billion litres of water lost to leaks every year to bring bills down, benefit the environment and improve resilience.

The Environment Secretary concluded by encouraging water companies to use their imagination, tenacity and creativity to tackle the challenges brought by a growing, wealthier and more urban population. He highlighted that the government’s priorities are to protect customers from potentially unaffordable bills and make sure that we have a cleaner, greener country for the next generation.

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