Agenda item

Motion under Council Procedure Rule 14 - for the City of Lincoln Council to be a single use, plastic free Council


Councillor Lucinda Preston proposed the following motion:


That this Council notes:


  • Most plastic does not decompose; a plastic bottle can last for 450 years in the marine environment. Plastic slowly fragments into smaller pieces but never truly go away – these are known as micro-plastics.


  • Everyday approximately 8 million pieces of plastic are entering the oceans. Estimates suggest that by 2050 there could be more plastic in our ocean than fish.


  • Approximately 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach in the UK. Plastic bottles and packaging make up a third of plastic pollution entering the sea. Tyre dust, maritime waste, nurdles and synthetic microfibers make up another 47% of the problem.


  • The plastics crisis requires action by national and local governments to reduce plastic pollution by increasing recycling rates and eliminate unnecessary single use plastic.


That this Council believes:


We need to move away from a linear plastic economy, where we take, make and dispose of plastic to a circular system where we capture the value of plastic materials - keeping plastic in the economy and out of the ocean.


That this Council therefore commits to:


(1)     Support Plastic-Free Lincoln as a campaign and promote plastic-free events and workshops. Toliaise with community leaders to facilitate and promote the campaign locally. To encourage schools, businesses, community groups and individuals to get involved.

(2)     To become a full signatory of the ‘Plastic-Free Pledge’ by eliminating wherever possible all single-use plastics within the Council’s managed buildings and facilities by 2020 and seek to encourage the elimination of single use plastics within the supply chain by 2022.


(3)     Encourage contractors, suppliers, third parties and local businesses to reduce use of single-use plastics and consider this during the granting or renewing of contracts.  The council are aiming for single-use plastics, where a viable alternative is available, to be eliminated from the Christmas Market from 2020 onwards.


(4)     Work with the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership to minimise waste, encourage reuse and clearly communicate to residents what can be recycled.

(5)     Install a free drinking water fountain in the Lincoln Central Market and encourage retailers, public sector premises and venues in the City to provide water bottle refill facilities.


(6)     Elect a representative to join Plastic-Free Lincoln’s Steering Group. This group will meet 2-3 times per year to apply for plastic-free community status and continue to drive the campaign forward.


(7)     To create a plastic-free information section on the Council’s website providing local information on plastic free-shopping, water refill schemes and local businesses that support the Plastic Free Lincoln campaign.


Councillor Preston, in presenting the motion, said that this complimented the motion passed at the last meeting of Council where a climate emergency was declared and was a clear demonstration that the City Council was committed to taking action. An ambitious programme, accompanied by an action plan, had therefore been developed which aimed to help individuals, families and businesses to make changes, as well as the authority itself take a lead role in making improvements in support of this important issue. Councillor Preston highlighted that an audit of the use of single-use plastics at the Council’s main managed buildings and facilities had been undertaken, with the action plan identifying where their use could be eliminated and replaced with greener, biodegradable replacements where possible. The Council would also be seeking to reduce initially and subsequently completely remove single-use plastics from its events, starting with the Lincoln Christmas Market 2019 and other events such as the Lincoln 10K event going forward. Councillor Preston took this opportunity to thank officers for their work on the audit and the development of the programme and action plan, together with Plastic-Free Lincoln group for their work in highlighting and promoting the problem of single-use plastics.


Councillor Bob Bushell, Portfolio Holder for Remarkable Place, seconded the motion and made reference to a programme on Radio 4 that he had listened to regarding marine life and the impact plastics were having on the world’s oceans, highlighting single-use plastics and micro-plastics in particular. He said it was clear that as a society it was necessary to use plastics more responsibly. Councillor Bushell was of the view that this motion outlined a clear strategy both within the Council and through encouraging others to do what they could to reduce the usage of single-use plastics. The programme and action plan would also call on the Government to use legislation similar to that introduced regarding micro-plastics and use of plastic bags to significantly reduce the production of single-use plastics.


Councillor Edmund Strengiel confirmed that, as an opposition, all of his group were in favour of the motion. Councillor Strengiel highlighted, however, that an amendment to the motion considered at the previous meeting regarding the use of single-use plastics had been proposed and seconded, but had been voted down. He was pleased to see that the content of that particular amendment had been taken into account as part of this motion.


Councillor Chris Burke, Portfolio Holder for Customer Experience and Review, welcomed and supported this motion and recalled the moment he witnessed with horror the famous Blue Planet programme hosted by David Attenborough which introduced everyone to what was happening across the world’s oceans with regard to plastic. He agreed that this motion perfectly complimented the climate emergency declaration as approved at the previous meeting of the Council and demonstrated that this Council was taking a lead role.


Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of the Council, was delighted to see this motion before Council and said that everyone had a much better understanding than they had ever had of the damaging effect of plastics across the globe, particularly micro-plastics. The motion represented a very longstanding commitment that this Council had to address environmental issues and try to do something about them, especially the problems associated with single-use plastics and the wider issue of the climate emergency as declared at the previous meeting. Councillor Metcalfe paid tribute to campaigners such as representatives of Plastic-Free Lincoln who had gone out of their way to highlight to people the significant environmental issues currently facing humanity. He hoped that they felt the City Council, as the significant community leader in Lincoln, was taking this matter very seriously and gave an assurance that action would be taken.


Councillor Ronald Hills said that this motion provided the Council with a real opportunity to make a difference locally and was fully supportive.


Councillor Preston highlighted that a huge amount of work had been undertaken by officers behind the scenes, including the very detailed audit of the Council’s managed buildings and facilities and development of the action plan. She explained that the reason the amendment did not go through at the previous meeting of the Council regarding single-use plastics was because it was considered to be such a significant issue that it was necessary for the subject of single-use plastics to stand alone as a motion in its own right.


RESOLVED that the motion be carried.

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