Thursday, 8 March 2018

District Council votes on zero single-use plastics > report

A week ago, the full District Council met - and voted on their own use of single-use plastics:
Futures Forum: District Council to vote on zero single-use plastics > Wednesday 28th February

Trevor Leahong is very much involved in a project based in Ottery St Mary:
Futures Forum: Indonesia showing the way to deal with plastic pollution > the CLEAR campaign

He spoke at the meeting:

Minutes of the Meeting of the Council 
held at Knowle, Sidmouth, on Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Trevor Leahong wanted to refer to the Motion under Agenda item 11, regarding the Council leading by example on a policy of reducing the use of single-use plastics to zero by 2020. He asked that the meeting adopt the motion and take steps to implement it as Council policy, encouraging members and residents to work towards zero single-use plastics. 

He referred to the Plastic-Free February Challenge which he had participated in as part of the Tackle the Plastic Campaign organised by CLEAR, a charity based in Ottery St Mary. CLEAR is working on sustainable, community based solutions to waste management in Indonesia, as a major polluter of plastics to oceans. 

He stated that the Plastic-Free February campaign had demonstrated how single-use plastic could be eradicated by changing consumer routines and by Councils and other organisations planning to do so. He stated that the council had an excellent record on recycling and asked it to make links with other campaigns. 

He referred to Beer which had been filmed on Channel 4 undertaking a regular beach clean. He asked if the Council would consider twinning its actions with CLEAR’s community based activities in Indonesia prior to 2020.

Then councillors debated a motion put to them: 

 Motion – Reducing the use of single-use plastics by 2020 

The following motion was proposed by Councillor Cathy Gardner, seconded by Councillor Eleanor Rylance and supported by Councillor Val Ranger, Councillor Peter Faithfull, Councillor Eileen Wragg, Councillor Marianne Rixson, Councillor Geoff Jung, Councillor Susie Bond, Councillor Dawn Manley, Councillor Peter Burrows, Councillor John Dyson, Councillor David Barratt, Councillor Matthew Booth, Councillor Megan Armstrong. 

“That this Council resolves to lead by example to reduce the use of single-use plastic with a goal of zero single-use plastics by 2020. Washable options will be favoured and any unavoidable disposable goods purchased henceforth will be of the compostable variety. In addition Members commit to making alternative choices to reduce their own use of disposable plastic items and packaging." 

The proposer of the motion, Councillor Cathy Gardner, spoke about the publicity given to this issue on TV and radio, and the waste of resources in single use. She spoke about how members could make a contribution as individuals and as a Council, referring to plastic spoons and cups used in the Members area and potential alternatives. She also referred to towns across the district which are taking a lead in reducing their use of single-use plastics. 

The seconder of the motion, Councillor Eleanor Rylance stated that since all disposable plastic ends up in the sea, we should all avoid using them. She expressed her hope that EDDC is able to exercise community leadership and lead by example about the issue before talking to local residents. 

The following issues were raised by Councillors during consideration of the motion: 
 Nothing in East Devon goes to landfill and anything which is not recycled gets incinerated. 
 Single-use plastics were used by Traffic Enforcement Officers to put tickets onto cars because there is currently no alternative. 
 All EDDC buildings have recycling bins. 
 EDDC is the best performing Council in Devon and amongst the top three district councils in relation to residual waste. 
 Councillor Rixson presented a poster which could be put onto the intranet and website with examples of actions for staff and members to take 

Councillor Tom Wright proposed an amendment to the motion and wanted to assure members and the public that the Council is doing a lot about this issue and is performing well. Alternatives to current single-use plastic are not yet available in all areas but will be explored when they are. 

Councillor Marcus Hartnell seconded the amendment. 
 Councillor Williamson wanted the Council to use its power to influence public opinion, and include specific requirements of contractors used across the Council estate in tenders and during procurement processes. He supported the amendment. 
 Councillor Giles stated that the difference between the original motion and the amendment was that the former gives a date and the latter does not. 
 Mark Williams clarified that his understanding of the amendment in that it would take effect immediately. 
 Councillor Ben Ingham commented that there seemed to be a recent trend for proposing amendments which did not change the integrity of the motion but which hi-jacked the debate. 
 Councillor Steve Gazzard supported the original motion because he wanted to see a target date included. 

The Chairman invited Councillor Gardner to give her right to reply. Councillor Gardner stated that it was important to have a target date and that the Council as a consumer needed to put pressure and conditions upon contractors, leading the way and pushing for change. 

Councillor Tom Wright agreed with the comments made throughout the debate. 

The Chairman put the amendment to the vote and by show of hands it was carried with 37 in favour and 18 against. The Chairman then put the motion to the vote and by show of hands was carried with 29 in favour and 7 against. The Chairman announced that the motion was carried. 

RESOLVED “that this Council continues to set the highest environmental standards and acknowledges the need to minimise the reliance on single-use plastics. It will ensure that their use is confined to those instances where it is operationally necessary and no alternatives are available. All future procurement decisions must take into account environmental considerations.” 

EAST DEVON DISTRICT COUNCIL - Minutes of the Meeting of the Council held at Knowle, Sidmouth, on Wednesday, 28 February 2018

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