Thank you for your email regarding the bottle deposit return system. I agree with you that more must be done to reduce the waste that is caused from plastic bottles, and the dangers this causes to wildlife – not least the mess created. I am grateful for the dedication that Surfers Against Sewage demonstrate to this cause and to our local beaches.
The suggestion of a bottle deposit scheme is something that should be explored further. I am pleased that earlier this month, the Department for the Environment agreed to set up a group to assess the costs and benefits of introducing such a scheme in its 2008 Review of Packaging Deposits System for the UK. This follows work that my colleagues and I, on the back benches, have been doing to press the Government to pursue such a scheme.
You refer to the National Litter Strategy, advised by a Litter Strategy Advisory Group which includes representatives from local government, campaign groups and independent experts, as well as the packaging and fast-food industries. I am delighted that the Government has produced this and have promoted the consultation as much as possible. You may also be pleased to hear about the launch of the fishing for plastic scheme. The aim of this scheme is to pay fishermen to collect and land plastic from the ocean, which would not only reduce the amount of waste washing up on our shores but would also improve the habitat for marine life.
In the meantime, I recently met with the RSPB to discuss any possible campaigns that the Climate Coalition might consider for 2017. I would be very interested to hear any ideas you may have to promote good care of our environment.
Thank you once again for raising this with me, please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.
Derek Thomas MP
For St Ives, West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.