On the blog today we look at the Government's response to the EAC's report on disposable coffee cups and the move of the administration of Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship to the Rural Payments Agency.
Government response to the EAC’s report: Disposable coffee cups
There is widespread coverage this morning of the Government’s response to an Environmental Audit Committee report on disposable coffee cups, some of which incorrectly says the Government has ruled out introducing a ‘latte levy’ charge.
The Government is still considering options on this issue. As part of the Autumn Budget statement in November 2017, we announced a call for evidence which will examine whether the tax system or charges can be used to reduce single-use plastic waste. This will be published soon and will consider the impacts of disposable coffee cups, among other single-use plastic items.
And in our response to the committee’s report, we said: ‘Clearly, the 5p single-use plastic bag charge has had a big impact and far fewer are being sold. So these types of incentives can change consumer behaviour and this is something we could consider amongst other policy options.’
Our plastic bag charge is just one of the significant steps we are taking to tackle plastic waste. We have also banned the manufacture of rinse off personal care products containing microbeads, with a ban on sale coming into force in June.
Our 25 Year Environment Plan stated our ambition to achieve zero avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042. The Resources and Waste Strategy will set out how we will work towards our ambitions of doubling resource productivity and zero avoidable waste by 2050.
A Government spokesperson said:
Industry has a crucial role to play in making more products recyclable and we are working with them to reform our packaging waste regulations so producers are incentivised to take greater responsibility for the environmental impact of their products.
But it is wrong to say government is not taking decisive action - we have set out our commitment to the environment in our 25 year plan, published in January, and we are looking at further ways to reduce avoidable waste and recycle more as part of our resources and waste strategy.
Moving the administration of CS and ES to the RPA
This week, Defra group has announced that the administration of Countryside Stewardship (CS) and Environmental Stewardship (ES) is moving from Natural England to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).
The administration of these Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes alongside Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in one organisation will provide a more efficient and joined-up service for staff and customers. This comes as part of work to simplify CS as far as possible within the current EU framework to improve the customer experience.
A Defra spokesperson said:
We’re working hard to simplify Countryside Stewardship as far as possible within the current EU framework to improve the experience for customers. As part of this, Defra is moving the administration of Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship to the RPA. Administration of CAP schemes in one organisation will provide a more joined-up service for staff and customers.
Staff at Natural England will continue to focus on ecological advice to stakeholders, as now, allowing both agencies to work together whilst concentrating on where they can best add value through their respective expertise. NE will continue working with farmers to get the best environmental outcomes from the schemes on the ground.
Staff at NE will also be instrumental in helping us to achieve the goals set out in our 25 Year Environment Plan, including creating or restoring 500,000 hectares of new habitat for endangered species and embedding a “net environmental gain” approach to planning and development.