MP for North Swindon

Justin Tomlinson MP

Swindon Advertiser Column: This Week Was An Incredibly Special One For Me

 


This week was an incredibly special one for me, as I became a father for the first time.

On Sunday my wife Kate and I welcomed a beautiful little baby girl, and to say we are delighted is an understatement. It seems such a long time ago that we discovered that we were expecting a child, and it was an amazing feeling to finally meet her.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all of the staff at the GWH for taking such good care of mother and baby. The midwives, doctors & nurses in the birthing centre, delivery suite and Hazel Ward were truly wonderful and we are all so grateful.

As a parent I want to make sure we are doing our best to look after the environment for future generations to enjoy. This means addressing many of the threats facing the planet, such as plastic pollution.

I know I have written about this many times before, but it is such a pressing issue, and one I am passionate about solving. I was delighted this week when I heard that the number of plastic bags used in the UK has halved in a year.

Figures showed that 549 million single-use plastic bags were sold by supermarkets in 2018/19 – down from one billion the year before. In fact, since the 5p charge was introduced at the end of 2015, the number of plastic bags sold has fallen by 90%. It is fantastic that increased awareness through campaigns such as Blue Planet and Sky Ocean Rescue, alongside legislation such as the 5p plastic bag charge, can lead to such a positive response.

Of course, plastic bags are just a tiny part of plastic pollution. Much more work is needed to tackle the issue – and I am very proud of the bold steps the Government is taking to address the problem.

The Government has continued to build on its work to tackle plastic pollution, and earlier this year we announced a ban on plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic-handled cotton buds.

We’re also consulting on plans to introduce a deposit return scheme to drive-up the recycling of drinks bottles and cans, as well as plans to levy a tax on plastic packaging which does not contain a minimum of 30% recycled content from April 2022.

We’ve rightly committed £61.4 million for research into the issue and to help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering the oceans. Building on this, the Government’s £20 million Plastics Research and Innovation Fund encourages researchers and businesses to develop viable alternatives to plastic.

I am very proud that the UK is leading the way when it comes to solving the issue of plastic pollution and will continue to do all I can as an MP to help push this forward.

My community office continues to be busy, being used by the public for a variety of events. The office is available free of charge for charities and voluntary organisations and has been used for a wide range of meetings and activities. Last month, the North Wilshire Motor Neurone Disease Association used the office for their Queen’s Award presentation, and other groups have used it for committee meetings, training sessions, and even children’s play sessions.

If you would like to book the office, please do get in touch.

 

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