Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah has called for the government to take urgent action regarding plastic waste on the streets of Newcastle.
In the House of Commons on Thursday 8 March, Chi asked the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to help Newcastle City Council deal with the problem of plastic and other waste contributing to a growing litter problem in Newcastle.
The Council have requested the power to force both landlords and residents to take in their bins, as well as the ability to impose a levy on businesses for clean-up operations in the city.
Since 2010, local authority budgets have been cut by 40%, causing Newcastle to lose £221 million
Since 2010, local authority budgets have been cut by 40%, causing Newcastle alone to lose £221 million. These cuts have made dealing with the growing waste problem in the city more difficult due to a lack of powers and resources.
In her question to the commons Chi urged the government to give Newcastle City Council the resources and abilities it needs in order to deal with what she recognises as a pressing issue.
Chi explained that increasing waste in the city was having a profound negative impact on Newcastle residents. She said that her constituents had seen their environment turned into a “dumping ground” due to “a flood of plastic bottles, bags, food trays, and crisp packets.”
Chi asked: “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.”
“The Minister may think my constituents’ concerns are a ‘waste of space’ but I will be inviting her to see the growing rubbish problem first hand”
Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah
MP Chi Onwurah’s request was unfortunately not well received in the commons. Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs dismissed the question as a “waste of space”.
Following the debate, Chi criticised the government’s lack of action over the issue. she said: “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.”
Responding to Thérèse Coffey’s comment, she said: “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.”