Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Newspaper column 22 November - the fight against plastics in our seas

This week Parliament is focussing on the Budget, which the Chancellor will be giving today.

I spent the run up both in Mid-Cornwall and in Parliament, including a busy constituency advice surgery in Newquay and the Anti-Social Behaviour summit in St Austell

I had a packed time in Parliament, speaking in a number of debates, including one on Fatherhood and the importance of the role of fathers in today’s society, and on the role of the UK in combatting marine pollution.

Along with this second debate, I was also pleased, in my capacity as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Protecting Our Waves, to host the Plastic-free Coastlines Reception in Westminster. Those who have followed my work will know this is an issue I have been campaigning on since I was first elected.

Along with Surfers Against Sewage, the reception took place to highlight the issue of marine plastic pollution and promote innovative government, business and community based solutions to protect our oceans and beaches from the rising tide of plastic.

In 1950, the world’s population of 2.5 billion produced 1.5 million tons of plastic; in 2016, a global population of more than 7 billion people produced over 320 million tons of plastic. This is set to double by 2034. Every day approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans and there may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean, altogether weighing up to 269,000 tonnes.

UK-wise, approximately 5000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach and on average over 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches.

On top of this, recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined. 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually.

These are all shocking statistics and clearly something needs to be done. With this in mind, it was great to get so many inspirational charities, businesses and government agencies together in Parliament to see just how far we have come in our fight against plastic pollution of our seas.

The Government is listening to the hundreds of thousands of people who have got involved and is taking forward ideas including the consultation on the deposit return scheme for single use plastic bottles and we are very much hoping for more news on this issue in the budget. There is still much more to do, both in terms of raising awareness of this issue and the serious nature of the problem, and in providing solutions to the tide of plastic that is blighting our seas.

My team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: