UK plastic bottle deposit scheme a big step closer after backing of Michael Gove

Michael Gove put a new plastic bottle recycling scheme at the heart of the Government’s environmental plans for the future – as he praised the Mirror’s campaign to ban trophy hunting.

In what could be his last speech as Environment Secretary, the former Tory leadership candidate vowed to talk with other countries about plans to curtail the cruel industry, but stopped short of the specific measures our campaign demands.

Thanking the Mirror for bringing the issue to prominence, he said advisers at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) would be analysing trophy hunting bans in other countries to ensure Britain takes robust action in the future.

During a keynote address in the packed Nash Conservatory at London’s Kew Gardens, Mr Gove warned time is running out to repair the damage human beings have done to the planet.

And he promised that whoever takes over as PM next week will not compromise policies designed to make Britain cleaner and greener, claiming both candidates for Conservative leader “care deeply about the environment”.

Refusing to elaborate on reports that he is now backing favourite Boris Johnson , he said he would be happy to serve in the next government to pursue the environment brief, while admitting he could be relgated to the backbenches.

Mr Gove announced that he favours an “all-in” deposit return recycling scheme that would cover all sizes of bottles.

This would give the public “the greatest possible incentive” to recycle, he told the audience at Kew.

Large retailers have lobbied against the bottle scheme, warning it could cost as much as £1bn to administer.

But deposit schemes in Europe have boosted recycling. The idea is that a deposit – a few pence – would be added to the price of a drink.

The deposit is paid back when empties are returned to retailers.

Unveiling ambitious proposals for what he described as a “world leading” Environment Act, Mr Gove said it would include the creation of an Office of Environment Protection with tough powers to take legal action on a range of environmental issues, including reducing carbon emissions.

In his speech, Mr Gove set out the problems facing the planet from wildlife loss and climate change.

“These twin challenges of biodiversity and climate change are massive and urgent and interrelated,” he said.

“The action taken so far hasn’t been sufficient, but late as it may be, there is still time,” he went on.

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