Plastic Pollution Bill (HC Bill 339)

A

BILL

TO

Set targets for the reduction of plastic pollution; to require the Secretary of
State to publish a strategy and annual reports on plastic pollution reduction;
to establish an advisory committee on plastic pollution; 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 Duties of the Secretary of State

(1) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to—

(a) ensure that by 2042 no plastic which is not capable of being recycled is
produced or used;

(b) 5eliminate the use of non-essential plastics by 2025; and

(c) progressively reduce plastic pollution.

(2) For the purposes of this Act, “plastics” include plastic materials and products
containing plastic.

2 The Advisory Committee on Plastic Pollution

(1) 10The Secretary of State must establish an Advisory Committee on Plastic
Pollution (the Committee).

(2) The Committee shall consist of—

(a) a person appointed to chair the Committee; and

(b) no fewer than five and not more than ten other members.

(3) 15The first Committee shall be appointed by the Secretary of State within three
months of this Act coming into force.

(4) The Committee shall set its own rules of procedure.

(5) The Committee may make recommendations for further appointments to the
Committee, which are subject to confirmation by the Secretary of State.

Plastic Pollution BillPage 2

(6) In appointing a member of the Committee, the Committee and Secretary of
State must have regard to the desirability of ensuring that the Committee
(taken as a whole) has experience in or knowledge of—

(a) the sources and pathways of different types of plastic pollution;

(b) 5monitoring the different types of plastic pollution;

(c) the effects of plastic pollution on health, wildlife, domestic animals,
plants and the wider environment;

(d) the production and use of plastics and alternative materials;

(e) the collection and disposal of plastics;

(f) 10behavioural change and its role in addressing environmental problems;
and

(g) the economic, environmental and social effects of plastic use and
pollution and their reduction.

3 Duties of the Advisory Committee on Plastic Pollution

(1) 15The Committee must—

(a) provide advice to the Secretary of State on meeting the duties in section
1(1);

(b) perform its functions in a manner consistent with the Secretary of State
meeting those duties in the most effective and timely manner possible.

(2) 20In undertaking its duties the Committee must have particular regard to—

(a) environmental conservation;

(b) the protection of health; and

(c) the reduction and prevention of plastic pollution.

4 Advice on strategy

(1) 25The Committee must publish advice to Government on the strategies required
under section 5.

(2) The Committee must publish its first such advice within one year of its
establishment.

(3) Advice provided under this section must the guided by the principles that—

(a) 30preventing pollution is more effective in environmental protection than
mitigating its effects; and

(b) (b)a precautionary approach should be taken to the unknown
consequences of pollution.

(4) The advice shall identify the extent to which different—

(a) 35types of plastic;

(b) uses of plastic; and

(c) pathways by which plastics are released into the environment

demonstrate the characteristics in subsection (5).

(5) Those characteristics are—

(a) 40cause harm to health, wildlife, domestic animals, plants and the wider
environment;

(b) risk causing such harm as a result of their cumulative effect on the
environment;

Plastic Pollution BillPage 3

(c) can be reduced or substituted by reusable or more sustainable
alternative materials that are readily available or could be developed;
and

(d) are essential for use in situations that are vital for human safety or
5wellbeing, and for which no adequate substitute exists or is expected to
exist in the near future.

(6) The advice shall recommend a list of plastics and uses of plastics that should
be designated as essential.

(7) Before finalising the list under subsection (6), the Committee must consult the
10persons listed in subsection (8) on the effects of designating particular plastics
and uses of plastics as essential or otherwise.

(8) Those persons are—

(a) persons with protected characteristics (within the meaning of the
Equality Act 2010) who may be affected by the designation;

(b) 15persons with relevant specialist knowledge; and

(c) other persons as the Committee sees fit.

(9) The advice must recommend target dates by which plastics and uses of plastic
deemed not to be essential under subsection (6) should be eliminated in order
for the duties in section 1(1) to be met.

(10) 20The Committee may make recommendations on how the duties in section 1(1)
and targets set under subsection (9) may be met.

(11) Those recommendations may include, but are not restricted to measures
relating to—

(a) the collection of plastics for reuse, recycling and safe disposal;

(b) 25taxes;

(c) subsidies;

(d) regulation;

(e) licensing;

(f) prohibitions;

(g) 30labelling;

(h) research and innovation;

(i) the removal or storage of existing plastic pollution.

(12) The Committee may also make recommendations on measures to protect
habitats or species affected by plastic pollution.

5 35Strategy

(1) The Secretary of State must lay before Parliament a plastic pollution strategy
which sets out the steps that will be taken to meet the duties in section 1(1).

(2) The first plastic pollution strategy under this section must be laid before
Parliament within two years of this Act coming into force.

(3) 40The Secretary of State must lay before Parliament a revised strategy—

(a) at least once every five years; and

(b) sooner if required by the Committee in accordance with section 6(3).

(4) Before laying before Parliament a strategy required under this section, the
Secretary of State must—

Plastic Pollution BillPage 4

(a) take into account the advice of the Committee under section 3;

(b) consult the public on a draft strategy.

(5) A strategy laid before Parliament under must—

(a) include a list of plastics and uses of plastics to be designated essential;
5and

(b) include target dates by which plastics and uses of plastic not designated
essential should be eliminated;

(c) address all recommendations made by the Committee under section 3;

(d) explain why the Secretary of State has not accepted any such
10recommendation.

(6) Within 28 days of a strategy being laid before Parliament, the Government
must table a motion in both Houses of Parliament of the form “That the
strategy under the Plastic Pollution Act 2019 laid on [date] be approved”.

(7) If that motion is not agreed in that form by either House of Parliament, the
15Secretary of State must lay an amended strategy before Parliament within three
months.

(8) An amended or reviewed strategy also requires approval under subsections (6)
and (7).

(9) The Secretary of State must take the steps necessary to implement any strategy
20approved by both Houses of Parliament under this section.

6 Monitoring of progress in delivering the strategy

(1) The Committee shall—

(a) monitor implementation of any strategy approved under section 5; and

(b) publish an annual report on—

(i) 25progress in achieving the targets and objectives in the strategy,

(ii) any recommendations for changes to the strategy or the list of
essential uses of plastic,

(iii) any significant new scientific knowledge on harm caused by
plastics and its uses,

(iv) 30any significant developments in alternatives to plastics, and

(v) the adequacy of the current strategy.

(2) Within 3 months of the publication of an annual report under subsection (1),
the Secretary of State must lay before Parliament a response to that report.

(3) If, having considered any such response, the Committee is of the opinion that
35the strategy is inadequate it can instruct the Secretary of State to review the
strategy in accordance with section 5.

7 Monitoring of plastics in the environment

(1) Within six months of this Act coming into force, the Secretary of State must establish
a programme of environmental monitoring to assess the—

(a) 40quantity,

(b) nature of, and

(c) harmful effects of

plastic pollution in the environments listed in subsection (2).

Plastic Pollution BillPage 5

(2) Those environments are—

(a) (a)the marine and estuarine environment, including—

(i) coastlines,

(ii) the water surface, and

(iii) 5marine sediments;

(b) freshwater environments, including—

(i) lentic environments such as lakes, pools and ponds,

(ii) lotic environments such as streams and rivers, and

(iii) wetlands and bogs;

(c) 10the terrestrial environment, including soil in—

(i) agricultural,

(ii) rural, and

(iii) urban areas; and

(d) the air.

(3) 15Data from the monitoring under subsection (1) must be published at least
annually.

(4) The data published under subsection (3) must be presented in such a way as to
assist both the public and the Committee in assessing the implementation of
the strategy.

8 20Devolved Administrations

(1) The Secretary of State must take all reasonable steps to consult—

(a) the Scottish Ministers,

(b) the Welsh Ministers, and

(c) the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland

25on the matters in subsection (2).

(2) Those matters are—

(a) the policies that would assist in phasing out plastic pollution across the
United Kingdom;

(b) the powers and resources needed by the devolved administrations for
30them to phase out plastic pollution; and

(c) the monitoring of plastics pollution across the United Kingdom.

9 Extent, application, commencement and short title

(1) This Act extends to England and Wales.

(2) The provisions of this Act apply to England only.

(3) 35This Act comes into force on the day it is passed.

(4) This Act may be cited as the Plastic Pollution Act 2019.