Plastics Bill (HC Bill 207)

A

BILL

TO

Require the Secretary of State to set, measure, enforce and report on targets for
the reduction and recycling of plastic packaging; to require that such targets
following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union at
least match such targets set by the European Union; to establish enforcement
mechanisms in respect of such targets and associated provisions; to make
provision for support for the development of sustainable alternatives to
plastic packaging; and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1 Duty to meet plastic packaging targets

It is a duty of the Secretary of State to take adequate steps to meet the plastic
packaging targets in any given year.

2 Plastic packaging targets

(1) 5It is the duty of the Secretary of State to set annual targets (“the plastic
packaging targets”) to—

(a) limit the production and use of plastic packaging; and

(b) increase recycling and other forms of waste recovery in relation to
plastic packaging.

(2) 10In setting targets under subsection (1), the Secretary of State must—

(a) ensure that the UK meets or exceeds the targets on the management of
plastic packaging and packaging waste set out under relevant
European Union law, including in circumstances where the UK is not a
member of the European Union;

(b) 15include a target which the production of plastics packaging in the UK
should not exceed;

(c) include a target which the sale of plastic packaging in the UK should
not exceed;

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(d) include a target limiting the annual expenditure by public bodies on
initiatives that support the production of plastic packaging from fossil
fuels; and

(e) require that by 31 December 2025, all new plastic packaging produced
5and sold in the UK is able to be recycled.

(3) The targets set under subsection (2)(b) to (d) must be lower than the previous
annual target under the relevant paragraph.

(4) Subsection (3) does not apply to the first annual targets set by the Secretary of
State under subsection (1).

(5) 10In setting the targets in compliance with subsection (1), the Secretary of State
shall—

(a) consult the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers, and the
Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland;

(b) consult the Plastics Agency;

(c) 15consult persons with knowledge or experience relevant to the plastic
packaging targets;

(d) consult such other persons as the Secretary of State thinks appropriate;

(e) issue a general invitation to make representations, in a manner likely in
the Secretary of State’s opinion to bring the invitation to the attention
20of as large a class of persons who may wish to make representations as
reasonably practicable; and

(f) take account of any representations made.

3 The Plastics Agency

(1) There shall be a body corporate known as the Plastics Agency (“the Agency”)
25which shall exercise the functions conferred on it by or under this Act or any
other enactment.

(2) The Schedule to this Act (which makes provision for about the constitution of
the Agency) shall have effect.

4 Function of the Agency

(1) 30The function of the Agency is to promote—

(a) initiatives that limit the production and use of plastics;

(b) the increase of recycling, reuse and other forms of waste recovery in
relation to plastics; and

(c) initiatives to recycle, reuse, or otherwise recover waste plastics already
35in the environment.

(2) The Agency must monitor whether the Secretary of State—

(a) is complying with the duty to take adequate steps to meet the plastics
packaging targets under section 1; and

(b) has set the plastics packaging targets in compliance with the
40requirements under section 2.

(3) Where the Agency has reasonable grounds to believe that the Secretary of State
is not complying with a duty under 1 or 2 it may apply to the relevant court for
an order to take such action as the court considers necessary to comply with the
duty.

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5 Plastics: fiscal strategy

(1) The Secretary of State must within 6 months of the passing of this Act make
arrangements for an independent review and report on the potential
contribution of a Government fiscal strategy aimed at—

(a) 5reducing the production, sale and use of plastics and plastic packaging,
and in particular, plastic bottles; and

(b) redirecting the costs of recycling, reuse and other forms of waste
recovery from public authorities to the—

(i) producers of plastic packaging; and

(ii) 10retailers using plastic packaging.

(2) The report and recommendations of the review under subsection (1) must be
laid before the House of Commons within 12 months of the passing of this Act.

(3) The laying of the report and recommendations under subsection (2) must be
accompanied by a statement by the Secretary of State responding to each
15proposal of the independent review under subsection (1).

6 General duty and guidance in relation to plastic packaging

(1) In exercising its functions and insofar as is consistent with the proper exercise
of those functions, a public authority must have regard to—

(a) limiting the production and use of plastics;

(b) 20increasing recycling, reuse, and other forms of waste recovery in
relation to plastics; and

(c) removing plastics already in the environment for the purpose of
recycling, reusing or applying another form of waste recovery to the
plastics.

(2) 25The Secretary of State must provide guidance to public authorities as to
fulfilling their duty under subsection (1).

(3) Guidance under this section may include (but is not limited to) the following
measures—

(a) enabling schools, hospitals and other providers of public services to
30reduce their plastic use;

(b) schemes which allow individuals to refill reusable water bottles;

(c) the provision of public water fountains;

(d) schemes which promote removing plastics and other waste from public
spaces; and

(e) 35schemes which promote the return of plastics to persons who provided
or otherwise sold the plastics for the purpose of recycling, reusing or
applying another form of waste recovery to the plastics.

(4) Before giving guidance under this section, the Secretary of State must
consult—

(a) 40the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers, and the Department of the
Environment in Northern Ireland,

(b) the Plastics Agency, and

(c) such other persons as the Secretary of State thinks appropriate.

(5) The Secretary of State must publish any guidance given under this section as
45soon as reasonably practicable after giving the guidance.

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(6) The power to give guidance under this section includes the power to vary or
revoke it.

(7) In discharging its functions, a public authority must have regard to guidance
given under this section.

7 5Sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging

(1) The Secretary of State must promote—

(a) research on matters relevant to the management of plastic packaging
and packaging waste;

(b) the use of such research by—

(i) 10public authorities;

(ii) plastic packaging manufacturers;

(iii) retailers or others who use plastic packaging; and

(iv) such other persons who seem to the Secretary of State to be
relevant.

(2) 15The Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument make
provision for —

(a) the establishment of a scheme to facilitate and encourage research by
higher education institutions and others into sustainable alternatives to
plastic packaging;

(b) 20the establishment of a scheme to facilitate and encourage the use of
sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging; and

(c) the administration and financing of such schemes.

(3) Regulations under this section may, in particular—

(a) set out the conditions that must be satisfied for a material to be
25considered a sustainable alternative to plastic packaging;

(b) make provision for persons involved in the research, development or use of
sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging to be made payments
;

(c) make provision for the calculation of such payments; and

(d) authorise the Secretary of State to make payments.

(4) 30A statutory instrument containing regulations under subsection (2) is subject
to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

8 Interpretation

In this Act—

  • “fossil fuel” has the same meaning as in the Energy Act 2013;

  • 35“higher education institution” has the same meaning as in the Higher
    Education and Research Act 2017;

  • “plastic” means a synthetic polymeric substance that can be moulded,
    extruded or physically manipulated into various solid forms and that
    retains its final manufactured shape during use in its intended
    40applications;

  • “plastic packaging” means all products which are—

    (a)

    used for the containment, protection, handling, delivery and
    presentation of goods; and

    (b)

    partly or wholly composed of plastic;

  • 45“public authority” means—

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    (a)

    a Minister of the Crown;

    (b)

    a public body (including a government department, a devolved
    authority, and a local authority);

    (c)

    a person holding an office—

    (i)

    5under the Crown,

    (ii)

    created or continued in existence by a public general
    Act, or

    (iii)

    the remuneration in respect of which is paid out of
    money provided by Parliament;

  • 10“recycle” means the reprocessing in a production process of the waste
    materials of a plastic product for the original purpose or for other
    purposes;

  • “reuse” means any operation by which a plastic product, which has been
    conceived and designed to accomplish within its life cycle a minimum
    15number of trips or rotations, is refilled or used for the same purpose for
    which it was conceived;

  • “relevant court” means—

    (a)

    in England and Wales, the High Court;

    (b)

    in Northern Ireland, the High Court of Justice;

    (c)

    20in Scotland, the Court of Session; and

  • “relevant European Union law” means European Parliament and Council
    Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (as amended)
    and any subsequent European Union legislation setting out targets on
    the management of plastic packaging and packaging waste.

9 25Extent, commencement, and short title

(1) This Act extends to the whole of the United Kingdom.

(2) This Act comes into force three months after the day on which it is passed.

(3) This Act may be cited as the Plastics Act 2018.

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Section 3

Schedule The Agency

Status

1 The Agency shall not be regarded as the servant or agent of the Crown or as
5enjoying any status, immunity or privilege of the Crown; and the Agency’s
property is not to be regarded as the property of, or property held on behalf
of, the Crown.

General powers

2 Subject to any directions given by the Secretary of State, the Agency may do
10anything which appears to it to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of,
or in connection with, the exercise of its functions.

General duty

3 It is the duty of the Agency to carry out its functions effectively, efficiently
and economically.

15Membership

4 The Agency is to consist of a chair and other members appointed by the
Secretary of State.

Staff

5 The Agency must appoint a person to be its chief executive.

6 20The Agency may appoint such staff and on such conditions of service as it
thinks fit.

Appointment procedures

7 The Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument
make provisions as to—

(a) 25the appointment of the chair and other members of the Agency
(including the number, or limits on the number, of members who
may be appointed and any conditions to be fulfilled for
appointment);

(b) the tenure of office of the chair and other members of the Agency
30(including the circumstances in which they cease to hold office or are
suspended from office);

(c) the appointment of, constitution of and exercise of functions by
committees and sub-committees of the Agency.

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8 Before making regulations under paragraph 7, the Secretary of State must
consult the Scottish Ministers, the Welsh Ministers, and the Department of
the Environment in Northern Ireland.

Terms of appointment

9 5The Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument
make provision as to the terms on which the chair and other members are to
be appointed.

10 The regulations may in particular make provision as to—

(a) the period for which they are to hold office;

(b) 10their eligibility for re-appointment;

(c) remuneration and allowances; and

(d) circumstances in which their membership is to be suspended or
terminated.

Money

11 15The Secretary of State may by regulations made by statutory instrument make
provision for the payment of a levy for the support of the Agency.

12 The levy under regulations in paragraph 11

(a) may not be imposed so as to lead to payments totalling an amount greater
than the costs incurred or to be incurred by the Agency,

(b) 20may only be charged on—

(i) the producers of plastic packaging, and

(ii) retailers using plastic packaging.

13 The Secretary of State may pay to the Agency out of money provided by Parliament
such sums as the Secretary of State thinks appropriate.

14 25The Secretary of State may make loans to the Agency.

15 The Agency must keep accounts in such form as the Secretary of State
decides.

16 The Agency must prepare annual accounts in respect of each financial year
to which the annual accounts relate.

17 30Before the end of the specified period following each financial year to which
the annual accounts relate the Agency must send a copy of the annual
accounts to—

(a) the Secretary of State;

(b) the Comptroller and Auditor General.

18 35The Comptroller and Auditor General must—

(a) examine, certify and report on the annual accounts;

(b) lay a copy of the accounts and of his report before each House of
Parliament.

19 The specified period is such period as the Secretary of State directs.

20 40The financial year is—

(a) the period starting on the day the Agency is established and ending
on the next 31st March;

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(b) each succeeding period of 12 months.

Annual report

21 (1) The Agency must as soon as possible after the end of each financial year
prepare and send to the Secretary of State a report on the carrying out of its
5functions during that year.

(2) The Secretary of State must lay before each House of Parliament a copy of
every report sent to him under sub-paragraph (1).

Regulations

22 With the exception of a statutory instrument made under regulation 11, a
10statutory instrument containing regulations under this Schedule is subject to
annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

23 A statutory instrument under regulation 11 may not be made unless a draft
of the instrument has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each
House of Parliament.