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Wet wipes ban: EAC Chair hails “positive step” but encourages further measures

24 April 2024

Responding to news that the Government will legislate to ban the supply and sale of plastic wet wipes in the next two months, Environmental Audit Committee Chair Philip Dunne said:

“Wet wipes containing plastic fibre present a serious problem for drains - one that cannot simply be flushed away and forgotten about.  These products can block sewage systems, making them more likely to back up and overflow, costing sewerage companies around £100 million a year.

“This proposed legislation is a positive step towards implementing recommendations made in the Committee’s 2022 report on Water quality in rivers, will make a difference not only in tackling plastic pollution but also in reducing unsustainable pressure on sewers.

 “That this legislation will include an exemption for medical purposes demonstrates the Government’s priorities are in the right place. I hope the proposed ban will have as significant an effect as charges for single-use carrier bags and the ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetic and personal care products.

 “This is a very welcome measure, but there are further steps to be taken. I encourage the Government to consider bringing forward a ban on the use of plastic in single use sanitary products, and I look forward to discussing the timetable for implementing this measure at the Committee’s next evidence session with the DEFRA Secretary of State.”

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