Prime Minister Theresa May has committed the UK to eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2042 as she revealed the long-awaited 25 Year Environment Plan today (11 January).

In a speech delivered at the West London Wetlands Centre, May outlined her government’s long-term plans for safeguarding the environment, placing a specific emphasis on plastic waste, while also addressing issues such as the transposition of EU environmental law into UK law, the creation of a new UK statutory environmental protection body (although detail on this was absent in the Plan), air quality, restoring woodlands and ensuring access to green spaces for young people.

The scourge of mishandled plastic waste on the environment has been catapulted to the forefront of public consciousness in recent times, thanks in large part to David Attenborough’s BBC series Blue Planet II, which brought the issue into stark relief, and alarming figures on the amount of plastics entering the marine environment, with an estimated 8-12 million tonnes of plastic entering the oceans every year.