Michael Gove spearheads MP group pledging to plastics phase-out

More than 100 MPs, including Environment Secretary Michael Gove, have pledged to reduce single-use plastic consumption within their local constituencies, after committing to Sky Ocean Rescue's #PassOnPlastic pledge.

Michael Gove spearheads MP group pledging to plastics phase-out

More than 100 MPs have pledged to reduce their own reliance on single-use plastic and encourage their local constituencies to follow Image: Flickr/PolicyExchange

MPs including Environment Minister Dr Thérèse Coffey, Steve Double, John Bercow and Holly Lynch have joined Michael Gove in joining the Sky Ocean Rescue campaign, the broadcaster’s consumer-facing initiative built on the statistic that plastic now accounts for 95% of the rubbish in our oceans.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Plastic has no place in our oceans, and I wholeheartedly support the work Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign has done to put this issue in the hearts and minds of the public.

“We have already introduced one of the world’s toughest bans on microbeads and removed nine billion carrier bags from circulation, and through our ambitious 25-year plan for the environment I am determined we further crack down on the scourge of plastic choking our oceans.”

House in order?

Despite personal pledges to act on the Government’s 25-year plan to eliminate avoidable plastic waste, MPs are yet to rectify the amount of plastic entering into the Houses of Parliament. Earlier this year, a Freedom of Information request by environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) revealed that more than two million single-use plastic items entered the Houses of Parliament in 2017.

Notably, more than one million disposable coffee cup lids were used in the House of Commons – equivalent to 1,500 for each MP. Plastic straws, sachets, cutlery and water bottles were also purchased in large quantities, the data revealed.

Similar research from the Liber Democrats found that more than 2.5 million disposable cups have been purchased by the UK’s environment department for use in its restaurants and cafes over the past five years.


Last year, Sky announced that all single-use plastics will be removed from products, operations and supply chains by 2020, with £25m set to be invested into an Ocean Rescue Innovation Fund to develop remedies to the amount of waste seeping into oceans.

The broadcast company brought Plasticus, a whale made up of a quarter tonne of plastic – the amount that enters the oceans every second – to Parliament to convince MPs of their decision.

The latest commitment builds on Sky’s Ocean Rescue digital campaign, which has now been given a dedicated Sky channel. Originally launched in January 2017, the campaign featured a 45-minute documentary examining the plastics problem.

Commenting on the MP’s announcement, Sky’s chief executive officer, and new WWF ambassador, Jeremy Darroch said: “2018 is the year to turn off the single-use plastic tap. It’s great to see MPs leading by example and encouraging others to make a change for the better. The pressure is now on businesses of all sizes to take action.”

Matt Mace

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