Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is launching a public inquiry into the possibility of imposing new taxes on plastics and chewing gum as part of the government's strategy to cut down on environmentally damaging waste.
Plastic is a key concern, with the government seeking to eliminate all avoidable waste by 2042. It is estimated that the equivalent of one rubbish truck load of plastic is dumped into the sea every day across the globe and at current rising rates of use, this would increase to four by 2050. By that stage the volume of plastic in the sea would weigh more than all the fish.
The consultation will seek evidence from environmental groups, the plastics and packaging industries to interested individuals on how best to proceed. It will also look at ways to tackle the problem of chewing gum, which as well as being a littering issue is made from a rubber-like compound that makes it very slow to biodegrade.