Living in the UK in recent times, it’s hard to find news reports that don’t include Brexit. Of course Brexit is an important issue that must get resolved, but there are far more important things other than Brexit that aren’t receiving enough attention. Last week, I decided to write a letter to a few of our politicians to suggest some actions that they could be considering, and preparing for, at the same time as resolving Brexit. I’ve posted the complete letter below.
The UK has some good recent momentum on environmental issues with the amazing work of Sir David Attenborough (see https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2018/plastics-watch) and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (see https://www.rivercottage.net/news/join-the-war-on-plastic) and the country really has an opportunity to help the world push forward quickly.
I’ve sent this letter to four politicians;
- Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP – Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service
- Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP – Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition
- Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP – Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- Sam Gyimah MP – Member for East Surrey
I know full well that the letter might gather no attention at all and may not even be read, but I hope that’s not the case. Sending the letter certainly can’t cause any damage and, at the very least, it might be read and may have an influence on some of the future decisions made for the UK.
It’s important that we focus on pollution, and something other than Brexit. We’re definitely polluting too much and plastic and CO2 seem to be our biggest, out-of-control, polluting factors at the moment. This letter requests changes to our laws to rapidly promote the reduction of pollution as changes to laws can have almost instant effect. However, we can also acknowledge that if every one of us starting using and consuming less, that would be of great benefit as well. Both actions at the same time would be best.
See the letter below…
Full transcript to the letter – something other than Brexit
Dear Mr. Johnson,
The UK has been pioneering with raising awareness of the desperate environmental issues we face with special thanks to Sir David Attenborough and the BBC documentaries featuring Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Especially with the imminent exit from the European Union, we have the prospect of showing the rest of the world how to tackle the problems of pollution and plastic, while strengthening our country at the same time.
These issues of pollution and plastic clearly rise above the apparent issue of the moment, Brexit. You can help lead the UK to a positive new future by enacting some emergency measures that will signal to the world that our country is stepping boldly forward and creating a successful future.
Amongst a range of emergency measures we could take, here are four I suggest we could take immediately;
- Introduce severe taxes on the creation of new plastic
- The target here is new plastic, not recycled plastic. Creating new plastic today seems nonsensical when we’ve already created so much, more than we know what to do with.
- Plastic-like materials that are truly compostable should be exempt
- Use these tax incomes to fuel the creation of new recycling businesses and technologies in the UK
- It’s imperative that we collect the plastics we already have and find ways to recycle them for the plastics we use
- This will create new businesses in the UK with products and services we could export to other countries
- The taxes should be most severe on single-use plastics and somewhat reduced for plastics that have a longer lifespan
- Ban the creation of plastics that are not recyclable
- It clearly should be unlawful to create a plastic that cannot be recycled, but much of the packaging today is exactly in this class
- Many current businesses will complain about such a ban, so phasing it in and using some of the tax income from (1) to help them make the transition would be sensible
- Ban imports that contain plastic that is not recycled
- In logical support of measures 1. and 2. it is necessary to place a ban on any imports that contain newly made plastics and plastics that aren’t recyclable
- All new housing builds to be forced to contain solar panels
- The incremental cost of including solar panels in new builds is small. When included in a new build, the panels can be integrated into the roof creating a saving through less roofing tiles to partly offset the cost.
- With such a policy, the UK would lead the way in creating more solar electricity capacity in a simple and non-invasive way.
- Creating a stronger solar industry in the UK at the same time for UK workers
With most of the positive things we can do, there will be many people who argue that it adds to the cost and is not good for their business. However, if it wasn’t for regulations, car manufacturers (for example) wouldn’t make cars with seat-belts because they add to their costs. We rely on Parliament to regulate important practices for the good of all people in the country. Please use your powers and urgently introduce regulations like those above to protect the welfare of all people in the UK, now and in the future.