Bridgwater Town Council deputy leader Cllr Kathy Pearce (Westover) has introduced a range of ‘green’ measures in her role of Town Environment spokesperson and has now achieved a major breakthrough in getting her motion on ‘single use plastics’ passed by Sedgemoor District Council. Her motion was seconded by Somerset County Councillor Leigh Redman (Bridgwater South) who had recently encouraged moves at County level in a similar direction.
Cllr Pearce, speaking at the Sedgemoor Council meeting of 21st March, said “An estimated 9 million tonnes of plastic enters our seas and oceans every year, causing immense damage to marine life and the environment, The succesful introduction of a 5p plastic bag levy in England in 2015 led to an 85% reduction in the number of plastic bags used. A ban on microbeads from most cosmetics is due to be implemented later this year. A huge proportion of the plastic entering our oceans is single-use plastic (SUP) . This is not a new problem and something has to change”
Cllr Pearces motion committed the council to ‘working with partners, suppliers and customers to develop a strategy and timetable to make Sedgemoor District Council a ‘single use plastic free’ authority, specifically the phasing out of sales and use of SUP bottles and other SUP products across all premises and events.
As Chair of the Community Scrutiny committee she was given the authority to consider a strategy and timetable for this project and to present a recommendation to Full Council in September 2018.
The Council further agreed to actively encourage the institutions, businesses and residents of Sedgemoor to adopt similar measures, to work with Somerset County Council to lobby MP’s for national legislation on reducing the use of SUPs and other plastic materials.
Finally the council agreed to actively encourage additional plastic recycling facilities through the Somerset Waste Partnership, which should also be part of the new waste and recycling contract for 2020.
Kath Pearce added, “This policy will also be taken through Bridgwater Town Council where we will also be looking at supporting a Community Refill Project, where local premises sign up to a ‘free refill of their tap water’ offer to customers and visitors.”
Tory leader Cllr Duncan McGinty (Con, East Polden) welcomed the motion saying that Sedgemoor “already did much of this” but would also “work with other authorities passing similar motions”