Trade deals

About

See our trade deal concerns article and this broader Swindon Climate Action Network article for background. See also our press release to the Swindon Advertiser, which was not conveyed accurately by them.

Take action

We have provided this easy action to contact your local MP.

Correspondence

Given concerns, we wrote to both local MPs to ask for assurances that trade deals would not affect our ability to deal with plastic pollution. It took more than 5 months to get an initial response. We asked:

  1. Will trade deals further plastic pollution in any way?
  2. Will trade deals make it more difficult to introduce effective legislation to reduce plastic pollution?

It was agreed that Robert Buckland would represent both north and south Swindon. He has provided no assurances. Following is the correspondence with him:

After receiving no response to this email, we agreed to discuss these issues by phone. Here are brief notes from that conversation on Friday 5th March 2021:

  • He provided no further assurances in answer to our trade deal questions. He expressed feelings about what might be and said that he has seen no evidence to suggest diminution of standards.
  • He will respond to our email about the importance of supporting zero waste, for health, environment, and local economies.
  • I asked if he would be supporting the Plastic Pollution Bill, as he had previously pledged to support its aims. He said that he doesn't think that the bill will progress.
  • He will let us know about the current state of the proposed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).
  • There have been recent reports that the government is clamping down on those who question capitalism as fit for purpose as extremists. I asked if groups such as ours and Extinction Rebellion would be labelled as extremists for doing so. Robert said that wouldn't happen and cited the importance of respect for human rights. I asked him where the respect for human rights was in sanctioning over £6 billion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia to bomb Yemen. No response.
  • Part of the Coronavirus Bill limits the right to protest. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would further restrict rights to protest. Concerns are for free expression and the right to protest, which could affect the ability of campaigns such as Plastic Free Swindon to operate. Mr Buckland told me that the government would not be seeking to limit protest, repealing the Coronavirus Bill once it is no longer needed.

We await response. Will we wait another 5 months for a reply?