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
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
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.
“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