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  • Plastic waste floating on the surface of water. Plastic like this is wreaking havoc on the environment
    Article: Jan 31, 2018
    By Alistair Carmichael MP

    The average seafood consumer eats around 11,000 plastic particles a year. Plastic pollution in our oceans is having a devastating effect - and we need to act now to solve it.

    The world's oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup.

    Unless we take action, plastic waste will continue to pollute our oceans with devastating effect.

  • Tim Farron MP
    Article: Jan 5, 2018
    By Tim Farron

    More than 7 million coffee cups are thrown away every single day. It's why we're campaigning for a charge on disposable cups - and now that campaign has been backed by an influential group of MPs.

    MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee have published a report backing Liberal Democrat calls for a charge on disposable coffee cups.

    The Committee has called on the Government to introduce a 25p levy on disposable coffee cups and a target to ensure they are all recycled by 2023.

    The Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for a charge on coffee cups since September 2016 and were the only party to include the policy in their 2017 Manifesto.

    The policy would build on the success of the 5p charge on plastic bags introduced by the Liberal Democrats in government, which has slashed usage in England by over 80%.

    The Liberal Democrats were the only party to include the policy in their 2017 Manifesto.

    I'm glad our call for a coffee cup charge is gaining traction.

    The evidence is clear that these levies work - the 5p charge on plastic bags has massively reduced usage and helped protect our environment.

    The government must introduce a levy on disposable coffee cups as soon as possible, starting with its own catering services.

    Every day that ministers sit and do nothing, another half-a-million cups will end up needlessly littering our towns and countryside.

  • rural
    Article: Jan 4, 2018
    By Tim Farron

    Michael Gove's announcement today insults British farmers and shows that he doesn't understand the industry.

    Today, in a speech on his vision the future of our farming industry DEFRA Secretary Michael Gove has called for a move away from what he claims are farming "subsidies for inefficiency".

    For Gove to imply that farm payments are a reward for inefficiency is an insult to British farmers.

    It shows he has no understanding of the reality of farming in this country.

    British farmers are some of the most efficient and dynamic in the world.

    Farm payments compensate for the fact that the market is broken, because supermarkets and processors dominate the industry and exploit farmers.

    The overwhelming majority of livestock and dairy farmers would be in the red if it wasn't for direct farm payments.

    Gove's announcement also does nothing to address the impending tariff catastrophe facing farmers once we leave the single market.

  • Tim Farron
    Article: Nov 22, 2017

    The Liberal Democrats have long campaigned to reduce plastic waste - and today's announcement in the budget is a major victory.

    In today's budget, Philip Hammond announced that he would consider charges on single-use plastic items to reduce waste.

    It comes following a Liberal Democrat campaign to introduce a charge on disposable coffee cups, to reduce the billions of cups thrown away in the UK each year.

  • Tim Farron MP
    Article: Nov 22, 2017

    Over 2.5 million disposable coffee cups have been purchased by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the past five years, figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats have revealed. This is equivalent to almost 1,400 a day.

    The Liberal Democrats said the figures showed Michael Gove "needs to get his own house in order," after he vowed yesterday to tackle plastic pollution.

    516,000 disposable coffee cups have been purchased by DEFRA's catering and facilities providers in the last year alone, for use in restaurants and cafés across the Department's offices.

    The catering contractors did not previously provide any reusable cups, but purchased 200 reusable cups on the 31st October 2017, after the Department received a Freedom of Information request from the Liberal Democrats.

    Figures uncovered by the party have revealed the House of Commons is also failing to get to grips with coffee cup waste, having got through almost four million disposable cups in the past five years.

    657,000 disposable cups have been purchased by the Commons' catering service in the last year alone, equivalent to 1,000 per MP. 500 reusable "Keep cups" were purchased in 2013, but only four of these have been sold in the last three years.

    The Liberal Democrats are calling for the introduction of a charge on disposable coffee cups in the Budget, following the success of the party's plastic bag charge which has reduced usage in England by 85% since it was introduced.

    Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron commented:

    "It's astounding that the department which is supposed to be protecting our environment is responsible for such a colossal amount of waste.

    "Millions of plastic cups have been thrown away by the government, some of which will now be polluting our seas, rivers and countryside.

    "Michael Gove needs to get his own house in order.

    "A coffee cup charge should be introduced in the Budget to tackle waste and encourage the use of reusable cups, including in the civil service and Parliament.

    "Just like the plastic bag charge, this would reduce unnecessary waste while raising millions for charity."

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  • Wind Turbines (By Barrow_Offshore_wind_turbines.jpg: Andy Dingley derivative work: Papa Lima Whiskey 2 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
    Article: Nov 15, 2017
    By Steve Mason in Liberal Democrat Voice

    Confusion reigns in the corridors of power with contradiction at every turn on the UK's energy needs. Recent reports on the UK's future in clean energy and climate change have flagged the critical need to prioritise low-carbon energy generation and the climate change obligations that the UK must meet by 2030.

  • Environment
    Article: Nov 14, 2017
    By Andy Boddington in Liberal Democrat Voice

    In the Sunday Telegraph, Michael Gove sets out his plans for an environmental watchdog post-Brexit. As education secretary under David Cameron, he was seen as a career hungry politician willing to risk quality education in a drive to create academies, open creationist schools and dictate what was taught in lessons. He was marginally better as Justice Secretary, but not much. Now, he is well on the road to becoming Britain's leading environmental champion.

  • Tim Farron (By JackWilfred (Tim Farron 02, July 2016.jpg) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
    Article: Nov 4, 2017
    By Patrick Barkham in The Guardian

    Average of 358 items per square kilometre found in 2016, of which more than three-quarters were plastic

    There has been a dramatic rise in the amount of litter found on the seabed around Britain, according to new government data.

    An average of 358 litter items were found per square kilometre of seabed in 2016, a 158% rise on the previous year, and 222% higher than the average for 1992-94.

  • Sutton Bridge
    Article: Nov 3, 2017
    By Jonathan Watts Skegness, Lincolnshire in The Guardian

    As sea levels rise, the county's low-lying farm plains and coastline would flood, changing the entire shape of eastern England forever

    Lincolnshire's flat, low-lying agricultural plains, which stretch north from the fens, curling around the Wash to Skegness and Grimsby, have long been a frontline of mankind's battle to claim and protect food-producing land from the sea.

  • GLD at #ClimateMarch 21st September 2014 (Simon Oliver)
    Article: Nov 2, 2017
    By Leo Barasi's in Liberal Democrat Newswire

    Leo Barasi's writings about public opinion are always worth a close read. He's one of those people who look at why others disagree with his worldview, not with a view to disparaging them but with a view to finding out how to persuade them. (A distinction Liberal Democrats sometimes forget when it comes to Europe; loudly lamenting the claimed stupidity of others rarely secures converts.) He has just published a book about climate change and public opinion.

    You could look at the news and think climate disaster is now inevitable. Each of the last three years has been the hottest on record. In the last few months, the US and Caribbean were battered by a record-breaking series of hurricanes, much of Asia was swept by floods and southern Europe was baked in crop-destroying heatwaves. All of this happened with the world only having warmed by a third of what it will this century if emissions don't fall.

    But you could also look around and think the world is finally dealing with climate change. For the first time, global emissions have stopped increasing because of efforts to deal with the threat, and nearly every country has committed to limit their emissions

    Both views are right. Climate change is now killing people, and the world is dealing with it more seriously than ever. But which path will win out? Will the world eliminate emissions within a generation as it must if it is to prevent dangerous warming? Or will emissions continue at their current rate and the planet respond with increasingly ferocious storms, heatwaves and droughts?

    My book, The Climate Majority: Apathy and Action in an Age of Nationalism, looks at the difference that public opinion will make, and why, unless it's tackled, climate apathy will stop the world dealing with the problem.

    Progress so far has depended on changes that have imposed little burden on most people. But eventually, the world will exhaust the relatively painless changes. The only remaining emissions cuts will be from activities that directly affect many people in their day-to-day lives, like flying and meat-eating. The world is going to have to radically cut emissions from both - but in the two areas, emissions look set to increase.

    Achieving these harder, but essential, emission cuts won't be possible without public support. Yet, at the moment, that support wouldn't be forthcoming. It's not that many people deny climate change: no more than 20% do. The problem is that many people understand climate change is real and a threat, but just don't think about it much and don't understand why they should change their lives to deal with it. Without their support, emission-cutting measures will fail.

    My book looks at the people who are apathetic about climate change and why they think what they do. It explores how psychology and the ways climate change is often described have made the problem seem distant, unthreatening, and a special interest of liberals.

    And it looks at what can overcome apathy. There's no magic word that will make the world act on climate change, but there are things that can persuade those who are apathetic that it is worth making the effort. It's still possible to tip the balance away from disaster.

    You can buy The Climate Majority: Apathy and Action in an Age of Nationalism here.