Letter: Trying to do our bit to reduce plastic use at the council

A huge proportion of rubbish on beaches is plastic. EDP reporter Ellie Pringle collecting . Picture:

A huge proportion of rubbish on beaches is plastic. EDP reporter Ellie Pringle collecting . Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

At the March Full Council at North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), councillor Annie Claussen-Reynolds put forward a motion to request that NNDC phased out as soon as practically possible the use of single use plastics at both the Cromer and Fakenham offices.

This motion was seconded by M Prior and backed wholly by the Conservative Group at NNDC.

Cllr Claussen-Reynolds explained that across the globe people are becoming more and more aware of the harm that single use plastics cause.

Single use plastics are used once then thrown away, and whilst some are recycled many get into our oceans and beaches. We have seven blue flags for our superb beaches at North Norfolk and we must do all that we can to stop the estimated eight million metric tonne of plastic waste that makes it way into our oceans.

Marine plastic pollution impacted (including ingestion, starvation and infection) at least 267 species worldwide. This ingress by micro-plastics via marine life entering our own food chain.

Cllr Claussen-Reynolds said that NNDC used 30,000 plastic cups February 2017 to February 2018 alone.

This motion acknowledged that NNDC recycles as much as possible, but that was not the issue the issue being the use of single use plastics.

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The idea was to show leadership from NNDC to encourage others to follow.

Cllr Claussen-Reynolds requested that the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee looked at any other less obvious SUP such as ink cartridges. She also requested that a working party was formed to encourage contractors to stop the use of single use plastics and put in place for future contracts.

Therefore this motion was to encourage leadership and prove NNDC cares for the future and our environment for the sake of future generations.

This motion is achievable.

Unfortunately, the two opposition groups become “one” in their quest to amend this Motion put forward by the Conservative Group.

Instead of keeping it insular to NNDC and in their control, they wanted to insist that all businesses looked into this.

Cllr Lee, leader of the council, reminded the council that only earlier that year Cromer had problems in the town.

If the pubs were not allowed to use plastic glasses which people took outside, he would hate to think of the damage broken glass could cause to others and give the police even more problems!

This amendment was refused by the Conservative Group, not because we thought that everyone should not make an effort but because we did not think it right to insist and possibly put businesses in jeopardy by putting costs on to their possibly already tight budgets.

Annie Claussen-Reynolds (North Norfolk district councillor for Lancaster North Ward), Sculthorpe Road, Fakenham.

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