AQW 12467/17-22

Miss Rachel Woods
Green Party
North Down

Tabled Date: 11/01/2021
Answered On Date: 19/01/2021
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (i) for an update on the action plan to eliminate unnecessary single-use plastics in the government estate; (ii) whether his Department is reviewing the ban on certain single-use plastic items in place in other jurisdictions; (iii) whether he will legislate to ban single-use plastics in Northern Ireland in this Assembly mandate; and (iv) for an update on the introduction of legislation to promote a circular economy package.

The Plastic Reduction Action Plan to end the use of unnecessary single-use plastic across the Northern Ireland Civil Service government estate is well underway. Suppliers are presently identifying alternatives to the disposable items currently in use. The implementation period will continue until October 2021 when the ban will come into force. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency within DAERA and Construction and Procurement Delivery within Department of Finance have already altered environmental statements within their contracts and tenders around addressing unnecessary single use plastic. A staff awareness campaign across all the departments has commenced.
As I advised during oral questions on 17 November 2020, I am working with my officials to introduce measures for Northern Ireland for the removal of 9 different single use items in line with other UK administrations and it is my aim to bring the measures before the Assembly within the current mandate.
Legislation to transpose the requirements emanating from the circular economy package was introduced in December 2020 and this will be followed by further policy interventions to help shape the longer term direction of travel with respect to waste management and recycling.