Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) passed two motions put forward by Conservative and Green councillors calling for a ban on the use of single-use plastics in Brighton’s council buildings at a council meeting last week by a unanimous decision.
Steve Bell (Conservative Councillor) put forward a motion last week to ‘ban the purchase of single-use plastics (SUPs) in all BHCC buildings and agencies’.
The motion also asked the council to ‘request and encourage all businesses with which we engage, via our procurement network, to support the banning of these consumables in their place of work.’
The council’s Green group put forward a similar motion calling on the council to become a signatory of the ‘Plastic Free Pledge’, a local campaign launched last month to drastically reduce plastic use by businesses in Brighton and across the UK, by phasing out unnecessary single-use plastics in all council buildings, and requested a report to look into incentives to encourage traders and businesses to phase-out plastic use, including ‘requiring food and drink vendors to avoid SUPs as a condition of their event permission’.
No vote was required from councillors following the debate of the two motions, as both were carried unanimously with no opposition, with it being clear that a lack of action could lead to catastrophe.
Green Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty talked about the plastic littering Brighton’s beaches and urged councillors to pass both motions, saying: “Authorities as varied as Sky News and David Attenborough are all agreed on one thing: a plastic crisis is engulfing our seas, and we need to stop the problem urgently.
“As a city by the sea it is incumbent upon us to lead the way for all councils across the country. And where we lead others will follow.
“Our coast is home to deepwater rock habitats and reefs. And we were reminded at the weekend with Blue Planet Two how magical our seas are. But the beauty of our seas belies their incredible fragility. So the time for action cannot come soon enough.”
Referring to recent estimates by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, Cllr Mac Cafferty said: “That doesn’t even bare thinking about. But if that wasn’t horrifying enough recent studies have shown that plastics are now present in samples of our tap water. We are literally drinking our own rubbish. If that isn’t the clarion call to action I don’t know what is.”
Speaking to attendees at the council meeting yesterday Cllr Bell said: “I would hope that all of us are aware of the catastrophe that awaits us and our future generations if we do not address the use of single-use plastics as a world.
“We can lead the way as a city and local authority in banning the use the of single-use plastics in all of our offices.
“At least eight million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year, which is the equivalent of dumping one rubbish truck into the ocean every minute. And, if action is not taken, it is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050.
“How can we as leaders of this city allow this to continue without picking up the gauntlet leading the way in banning single-use plastics in all the buildings we manage?”