human activity and the destruction of the planet

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Plastic Packaging Tax: government consultation extended to August 2020

In the Budget 2020, the UK government announced key decisions it had taken for the design of a Plastic Packaging Tax in the light of stakeholder responses to a previous consultation in 2019.

This second consultation was published on 11 March 2020 and was due to run to 20 May. However, the government recognised that many sectors with an interest in this policy have been affected by COVID-19 and wanted to give all stakeholders time to submit their views, so the consultation has been extended. The closing date is now 20 August 2020 (11.45pm) though early responses from stakeholders are encouraged.  The consultation document covers 51 pages and is geared towards the commercial sector, though individuals can respond.

Details of the consultation can be found at:

Introduction to the consultation:

1. Introduction
1.1 At Budget 2018, the government announced that it will introduce a world leading tax on plastic packaging from April 2022. The tax will encourage the use of recycled plastic instead of new plastic within packaging. It will create greater demand for recycled plastic, and in turn stimulate increased levels of recycling and collection of plastic waste, diverting it away from landfill or incineration.
1.2 This document marks the next stage in the consultation process. So far, the government has:
– Held a Call for Evidence (March 2018) to explore how the tax system or charges could be used to reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste and published a Summary of Responses (August 2018)
– Launched a Consultation seeking views on the initial Plastic Packaging Tax design (February 2019) and published a Summary of Responses (July 2019)
1.3 At Budget 2020, the government announced that Plastic Packaging Tax will apply at a rate of £200 per tonne of plastic packaging which does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic. This will apply to plastic packaging which has been manufactured in, or imported into, the UK. The government will keep the rate of the tax and the 30% recycled plastic threshold under review to ensure that the tax remains effective in increasing the use of recycled plastic.
1.4 At Budget 2020, in response to feedback from the previous consultation, the government announced that it will:
– Extend the scope of Plastic Packaging Tax to imported filled plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic content, rather than just imports of unfilled plastic packaging
– Exempt businesses that manufacture or import less than 10 tonnes of plastic packaging in a 12 month period from the requirement to pay the tax. This will ensure the administrative burden and cost of collecting the tax are not disproportionate to the environmental harms the tax seeks to address
1.5 The tax will complement the reformed Packaging Producer Responsibility Regulations. These reforms will encourage businesses to design and use plastic packaging that is easier to recycle and discourage the creation of plastic packaging which is difficult to recycle. They will also make businesses responsible for the cost of managing the packaging they place on the market when it becomes waste. These measures, together with the government’s proposals to increase consistency in household recycling collections across local authorities and businesses, will increase the supply of easier-to-recycle plastic. The government believes that tax and regulatory reform together will provide businesses with the right incentives to recognise the impact of their plastic packaging decisions and drive the development and use of more sustainable packaging. The tax and regulatory changes will be delivered as separate measures given the high level of complexity any combined system would bring. However, the government will continue to ensure that the tax complements the reformed packaging regulations.

What is the government consulting on?
1.6 This consultation seeks views on the detailed design, implementation and administration of Plastic Packaging Tax to ensure it best meets the government’s environmental objectives while placing only proportionate burdens on business. Chapters 3 to 8 set out what the government is consulting on and include specific questions on:
a. Chapter 3: The scope of the tax
b. Chapter 4: Liability for the tax
c. Chapter 5: Excluding small operators (de minimis)
d. Chapter 6: Evidence requirements
e. Chapter 7: Exports
f. Chapter 8: Registration, returns and enforcement
1.7 The government is also seeking to refine its assessment of the impact of Plastic Packaging Tax as set out in Chapter 10.
1.8 At Budget 2020, the government announced that Plastic Packaging Tax will be charged at a rate of £200 per tonne where less than 30% recycled plastic is used in packaging. The rate of the tax and the percentage of recycled content are not within the scope of this consultation.


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UK Government seeks to weaken commitment to Paris 2015 targets before Brexit

An article in The Guardian by Arthur Nelson (9th May 2018) claims that a secret plan, to stretch targets backwards to comply with the Paris 2015 commitments, has been leaked by MEPs.

The EU has committed to a 20% in energy use by 2020, as a first stage in its more ambitious promise to the Paris conference of a 40% emissions cut by 2030.

The secret documents seen by The Guardian show that the UK plans to stretch its timeline backwards by four years, in order to use pre-2014 energy efficiences to be compliant with the EU directive. Then, once the UK has left the EU, it will no longer have to comply with the directive.

A member of the EU’s Environment Committee told The Guardian that:

“The UK’s proposal to widen ‘flexibilities’ is completely mad and undermines the principle of additionality, as well as the overall ambition of the energy efficiency directive. This approach would risk failure in our efforts to reach even moderately ambitious overall targets, while the higher – and beneficial targets – that we need to strive for could become lost altogether.”

According to the Shadow International Trade and Climate spokesman, the UN has asked countries to ratchet up their commitments on climate change in 2018.  Instead the UK government is weakening ours.

At present, almost all of the UK environmental policy derives from EU law but Michel Barnier, has insisted that a ‘non-regression article’ be included in any final EU-UK agreement to prevent backsliding.


Sunday May 20th 2018

And now, the United Nations is getting in on the act.  In a report in the Huffington Post today, it is said that Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the UN’s environment programme, has said that Britain must keep its promise to deliver a green exit from the EU.  This story is also reported in The Observer.

Solheim has said that “Any dilution and the UK reputation would be damaged. People in government need to make sure that does not happen. We need to make sure they have those standards or improve them, or meet the ones under the European Union.”



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Crowd-fund to sue UK government over safe climate target: PLAN B

The following has been posted by a member of Scientists for Global Responsibility:

Plan B​ ( ) is supporting the emergence of a networked, international movement of legal action to prevent catastrophic climate change. People all over the world are now heading to court to hold governments and corporates to account for Climate Change.

As part of this gathering, global movement Plan B and 11 UK citizens are suing the UK Government for failing to set a safe climate target ( ).


They need £35,000 to pursue this action and have already, via a crowd-funder, raised £25,335 with more than 500 people pledging their support. They have 11 days to raise just under £10,000 and they have a donor who will allow them to double all donations received between now and the end of New Year’s Day. If they can raise another £5,000 they’ll have made it.

I think PlanB-v-UK is a good project and I hope it meets its target. If you’d like to support it, visit 
People all over the world are now heading to court to hold governments and corporates to account for Climate Change. As part of this gathering, global movement Plan B and 11 UK citizens (aged 9 to 79) are suing the UK Government for failing to set a safe climate target. This case is for everyone and everything!
1st March 2018.  This group have now got their first court hearing on 20th March 2018 at the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London WC2.  Below is a copy of their recent email:

“We need to persuade the Court that we have an arguable case, that merits a full hearing (it’s called a ‘permission hearing’). It could last anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Permission hearings are normally listed at 10:00 or 10:30hrs, but we won’t know the precise time or Court number until the afternoon of 19th March. So we’ve decided to stage a ‘solidarity’ event outside the Court between 09:00 and 10:00 hrs.

We can’t afford 3 Billboards, so we’re going to have just 2. The first will read:


The second:


The original UK 2050 target derived from Aubrey Meyer’s model of Contraction & Convergence (‘C & C’). Indeed in 2008, the year of the UK Climate Change Act, a cross-party group of British MPs nominated Aubrey for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

Aubrey is also a musician and composer. We’re honoured that he has agreed to play the violin outside Court in solidarity with our legal action. It’s a way of making the point that our legal action aims to ensure the UK Climate Change Act fulfils its original purpose and intention, i.e. aligning UK emissions to the global climate obligation on the basis of transparent, equitable and replicable assumptions. There’ll also be music from ClimateKeys, and readings and statements from some of our supporters.

We couldn’t be doing this without you, and hope to see loads of you there!

Best wishes,

Plan B + 11″

Posted on 29th March 2018:

Update on Citizens sue Government for safe Climate Target

Dear friends

We’ve got our next hearing date and it’s a good one! 4 July (Royal Courts of Justice, the Strand London).

It’s a historically resonant day to be running ground-breaking right to life arguments. On 4 July 1776 the US Declaration of Independence was signed, containing the first and arguably most important political articulation of the principle:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed  … with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life … “

We’re listed for a full day’s hearing, and this time we really do expect to get a ruling on whether the case proceeds to full trial. But who knows! We were also really expecting that last week.

Update posted on 18th April 2018:

Update on Citizens sue Government for safe Climate Target

Today the future for us and our children is looking just a little bit brighter. And it’s thanks to you.

Yesterday Claire Perry, the Minister for Climate Change, committed to a review of the UK long-term climate targets in light of the Paris Agreement and a forthcoming report on the impacts of 1.5˚C warming.

She did so with an announcement at the meeting of the 53 Commonwealth Heads of Government taking place in London. This is precisely what we’ve been urging – the UK Government to show leadership and to use its diplomatic influence positively. The announcement was welcomed by, among others, the Frank Bainimarama, the Prime Minister of Fiji:

“I am encouraged by Britain’s undertaking to review its climate targets with a view to increasing ambition. The [targets] we all promised to make in the Paris agreement should be setting high standards for the rest of the world to follow.

Only a few months ago the Government was adamant that no such review was necessary. There’s no question that the hundreds and hundreds of you supporting our legal action financially; the public messages of support; and the packed court-room on 20 March, have sent to the Government a powerful message – their future is our future and our future is theirs.

Of course the Government has not yet actually changed the target or brought it into line with the Paris Agreement. But under the Climate Change Act, a review from the Committee is the necessary first step. We’ll be discussing with our legal team precisely what this means for our legal action and will provide a further update soon.

But quite simply this is a hugely important and globally significant development, that would no have been possible without your support.

Best wishes,

Plan B + 11


















8th June 2018: court hearing set for 4th July.

EMail update:

Update on Citizens sue Government for safe Climate Target

Dear Supporters

As we approach our critical hearing date on 4 July, Caroline Lucas has thrown her weight behind what’s being described as ‘the mother of all court hearings’: 

Meanwhile the climate justice movement is gathering momentum around the world, and Plan B were recently interviewed by Al Jazeera about ‘the People’s Climate Case’ against the EU: 

We have served a further statement on the Court to update it on significant new developments in support of our position arising since the last Court hearing on 20 March. More and more policy-makers, scientists and academics are joining our call for the Government to get serious on climate change:

Please show the Court, the press and the Government how much this matters to us all by joining us on 4 July from 9am, the Royal Court of Justice, the Strand, London.

With thanks and best wishes,

Plan B + 11


Update 7th July 2018:

Update on Citizens sue Government for safe Climate Target

Judge postpones decision on our case

It was an amazing day last Wednesday. Thanks so much to all of you who came.

The court-room, the largest in the Royal Courts of Justice, was even more full this time. Dozens of people were sitting on the floor! We had a whole group of school-children who’d chosen to set off from Lowestoft at 5am to witness the demand for their future.

Jonathan Crow QC, Attorney General to HRH Prince of Wales, made compelling submissions on our behalf. Counsel for the Government was less focussed on addressing our main arguments, than emphasising that the Government has now committed to reviewing its targets. Jonathan pointed out that the Government has not actually yet commissioned a review, nor set terms of reference or a time-frame.

The argument seemed finely balanced. The judge, Mr Justice Supperstone, extended to court day to 5pm, and then postponed a decision. That’s unusual for a permission hearing, but reflects the gravity and significance of the issues.

Bindmans, our solicitors, expect us to have the ruling within a fortnight, but can’t be sure.

Here’s some coverage from the BBC: “Court action to save young from climate bill”

And here’s a Tweet from one of the journalists present in Court, describing how the case is putting ‘huge pressure’ on the government to increase its ambition:

Update 23rd July 2018:

Sadly, this campaign group lost the case.  However, they will be appealing against the decision.  The full story can be seen at:

Update 30th January 2019:

Update on Citizens sue Government for safe Climate Target

Dear supporters of our future

Sadly, the Court of Appeal has rejected our appeal to have our case heard. That’s now the end of the road for the appeal process. Given what’s at stake (ie the future) it’s deeply disappointing the courts have has not had the courage to hear our evidence, which is so strong.

Nevertheless, there’s no doubt the legal action has made an impact. Within a month of commencing legal proceedings, the Climate Change Committee had recommended a review of the 2050 carbon target in light of the Paris Agreement, which is what we had been urging, and the Government announced announced a review in April 2018. That review is now well underway, and it’s vital that the Committee recommends a bold and ambitious target, that reflects the science and the climate emergency that we’re facing. We’ll be watching the outcome closely.

Thank you so much for your wonderful support, which has made this case possible!

While we did not get the legal outcome we were looking for, there’s been a major change in the public and media conversation over the last year. With the backing of leading scientists, and the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, a mass movement of people, Extinction Rebellion, is rising up to demand that the Government is honest about the crisis we’re facing and that it takes the necessary action to safeguard our future. Local governments around the country (including the Mayor of London) are acknowledging and facing up to the climate emergency. The spotlight of our legal action has been part of this and we must keep up the momentum!

Next week, on 5 February, at 9.15am, we’re back at the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London, to argue that our legal action against the expansion of Heathrow Airport should be live-streamed, so that everyone can witness the inconsistency between the Government’s aviation and economic policy and its claims to climate leadership. Please join us there, to show the courts that people want transparency and open justice.

Thanks again and best wishes,

Plan B + 11 Citizens