Chi demands government action on plastic waste in Newcastle

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah has called for urgent Government action to tackle the problem with plastics and other waste on Newcastle’s streets.

In the House of Commons on Thursday Morning, Chi urged the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to provide Newcastle City Council with the powers and resources they need to clean up our streets.

In her question Chi highlighted the plight of many of her constituents in Newcastle Central, saying:

“Their streets and indeed their lives are inundated with a flood of plastic bottles, bags, food trays, and crisp packets, turning their environment into a dumping ground. Will the Minister take action urgently and stop denying local authorities like Newcastle City Council the powers and the resources to tackle the problem because frankly right now on the environment this Government is rubbish.”

Local authority budgets have been cut by 40% since 2010, with Newcastle alone having lost £221m since 2010, making it difficult for councils to tacking the growing litter problem.

Newcastle City Council have called for the power to force landlords and residents to take their bins in, and the power to impose a levy on businesses to pay for clean-up operations.

Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, dismissed Chi’s question on the rubbish issue as a “waste of space”, showing a clear disregard for the problem and the negative effect it is having on the lives of Newcastle residents.

Following the debate, Chi commented:

“Plastic waste has a devastating impact on the streets and environment in the West End of Newcastle and this Government’s inaction is making the problem worse.

“The Minister may think my constituents’ concerns are a ‘waste of space’ but I will be inviting her to the West End to see the growing rubbish problem first hand.”

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