Tuesday 4th April 2023

Office of Fleur Anderson MP

PRESS RELEASE: Wet Wipes Win – Fleur Anderson’s award-winning campaign gets Government backing after two years

Labour MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields was given cause to celebrate this morning after her flagship campaign to ban plastic in wet wipes received Government backing.

Secretary of State for the Environment, Therese Coffey, announced this morning that most almost all wet wipes will be banned in England as early as next year.

Fleur Anderson said “I welcome the Government finally saying they will ban the sale of wet wipes made with plastic. But there is still no deadline date in the Water Plan, so I’m worried that it might be yet another promise that never happens.”

The ban will be subject to another consultation and the Government will be writing to relevant producers and advertising authorities about ‘flushable’ labelling on wet wipe packaging.

Fleur Anderson said, “Billions of wet wipes are used every year and they are behind 93% of blockages in UK sewers causing significant damage. At least 40% of wipes still contain non-degradable plastic fibres and new research from Water UK shows that 22% of people admit to flushing wet wipes down the toilet. I’ve seen that they end up as ‘wet wipe islands’ on our river banks.”

The move comes after years of campaigning by Ms Anderson and campaign groups, and after 96% of the public said they supported the idea in the most recent consultation on single use plastics.

Ms Anderson has been campaigning to ban plastic in wipes for two years, and she introduced a private members bill to Parliament which sought to make the ban law and bring about stronger flushing labelling on wet wipe products.

Her campaign has the support of water campaigners Thames21 and the Marine Conservation Society, major High Street retailers Tesco and Boots, industry voices such as the Water Research Centre Group and over 30 MPs from all parties.

The campaign was also the recipient of the prestigious Environment All Party Parliamentary Group’s “Parliamentary Campaign of the year” award in December last year.

Responding to the news, Ms Anderson said:

“After two long years of campaigning, two parliamentary bills, two drawn out consultations and endless hours meeting manufacturers, retailers, water companies and even counting wet wipes pile up on the Thames foreshore, the Government seem to be backing my campaign at last.”

“There is not a moment to lose, so I’m disappointed to hear there will be yet another consultation. In 2018, a similar promise was made so I hope this isn’t just a shuffling of the deck chairs and the Government actually deliver this time. I’ll be making sure they do and my campaign is far from over.”

“I’d like to thank all the organisations who have helped achieve this big win, including Thames21, the Marine Conservation Society, Greener UK, Tesco, Boots, the Water Research Centre Group and parliamentary colleagues from all parties.”

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