'Latte Levy' To Take Effect In Parliament From This Summer

The British Parliament is to bring in a tax on coffee cups and implement a total ban on plastic water from this summer on.

Members of Parliament in the Palace of Westminster will have to pay 25p per coffee cup - known as the 'latte levy' - if they use one within the House of Commons and House of Lords in an attempt to reduce plastic waste.

Plastic mineral water bottles will also be banned completely, with new water fountains introduced to try to make MPs refill reusable water bottles instead.

Along with the latte levy and the plastic water bottle ban, the Palace of Westminster kitchens will also phase out plastic sachets of condiments and plastic cutlery in a broad sweeping environmental move.

It is expected that the move will eliminate more than 750,000 disposable coffee cups and 125,000 plastic bottles.

Mary Creagh, the Labour MP who has led the campaign against plastic bottles, described it as "important step to creating the world's first plastic-free Parliament".

The Member for Wakefield, who chairs Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee, added: "Parliament's action stands in stark contrasts to ministers who consult, announce and reannounce but never seem to do anything to turn back the plastic tide."

The latte levy will initially have an impact on coffee bought in the House of Parliament itself, with 25p added to every cup that is bought to go. It is hoped that the levy will encourage MPs into a more permanent change of behaviour.

Conservative MP Sir Paul Beresford is the chair of Parliament's Audit Committee, which organised the day-to-day oversight of the Palace of Westminster, and he backed up his Labour colleague, Creagh, adding: "Our aim is to remove, as far as possible, disposable plastic items from the Parliamentary estate. Our challenging targets reflect Parliament's commitments to leading the way in environmental sustainability."

Lord Laming, who performs a similar role in the House of Lords, said: "Parliament has acknowledged the damaging effect single-use disposable plastic is having on the environment and that it must lead the way in valuing our environmental future over convenience.

"This review has taken a holistic approach to plastic reduction, considering everything from disposable cutlery to packaging. The House of Lords has already substituted plastic straws with compostable paper ones, and eliminated plastic condiment sachets. I am delighted that Parliament will now be going much further to reduce the impact we make on the environment.

"We all have a responsibility in this, so it's time to really start to think about the steps everyone can take to reduce their plastic use. I hope that the measures Parliament will implement over the next 12 months will inspire other organisations and people to make changes in their everyday lives."

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Mike Wood

Mike Meehall Wood is a freelance journalist and translator. He writes for LADbible, VICE and countless sports publications, focusing on rugby league, football and boxing. He is a graduate of Leeds University and maintains a fizzy pop obsession. Contact Mike at [email protected]

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