Exmouth Town Council to wait for national guidance on single-use plastics issue

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:05 24 April 2018

Robert Masding, a Green Party candidate for the Exmouth Town ward

Robert Masding, a Green Party candidate for the Exmouth Town ward

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Civic leaders have decided against backing a motion to support efforts to reduce single-use plastics in the town - opting instead to wait for ‘national guidance’.

At Exmouth Town Council’s April meeting, Councillor Robert Masding tabled a call to endorse a reduction in the use of single-use plastics through a number of specified actions.

These included asking traders to ditch their plastic containers and bags in favour of a more biodegradable alternatives such as paper.

However, this motion failed and members voted in favour of an amended motion which would see the town council wait for national guidance on the issue.

Cllr Masding said: “East Devon Green Party recently conducted a survey of shoppers in the Magnolia Centre and the overwhelming response from people was that we did need to do something on the problem with plastic and, in particular, single-use plastics.

“We all know that plastic is made from oil and the need to reduce wastage of this valuable resource is quite obvious.”

Cllr Steve Gazzard put an amendment forward to create a working party to discuss how the council promotes the motion tabled, but this also failed.

A further amended motion was put forward by Cllr Richard Scott which would see Exmouth Town Council commit to the reduction of single-use plastics and wait for guidance from the Government on ‘statutory requirements’ in relation to single-use plastics. The motion also included endorsing Devon County Council policies on the issue. Cllr Scott added: “Non-throw-away plastics perform an important role in our society and there is still a requirement for single-use plastics.”

Cllr Tim Dumper raised concerns that waiting for national guidance would delay action on the issue, adding: “When you start involve national players, that’s a recipe for delay and not really joining in and not making Exmouth a single-use plastic-reducing town.

“For goodness sake, let us as a town move forward on the basis of what Rob (Masding) said.”

Cllr Maddie Chapman also said Exmouth can only be plastic-free up to a point, adding: “You’ve nurses, you’ve got environmental health people, and you’ve also got forensic people who all use plastic. So you can never say it will be completely free.”

Councillors voted in favour of Cllr Scott’s amended motion.

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