Leonie Cooper says it's vital to act swiftly on the wake-up call
Proposals to tax clothing have been welcomed by politicians, including local London Assembly Member Leonie Cooper, who say fashion is having a “hugely detrimental” impact on the environment.
A report published yesterday (February 19th) by an environmental audit committee - a group of cross party MPs – says a penny tax should be levied on items of clothing sold by British retailers.
The report suggests these measures could raise £35 million to recycle clothing and tackle waste in the fashion industry.
According to the report, retailers in the UK create a million tonnes of waste every year – higher than any other country in Europe.
Ms Cooper, Labour’s London Assembly environment spokesperson and member for Merton and Wandsworth, welcomed the report. She said, “Fast fashion has a hugely detrimental impact on our environment, with a shocking 235 million items of clothing sent to landfill per year.
“In the capital, we are seeing the results of our failure to get a grip on the issue, with unwanted clothing ending up dumped on our streets.
“This report drives home the fact that major retailers need step up to the mark and provide the means for their customers to recycle old clothing.”
Research from Ms Cooper in 2018 revealed that London accounts for more than a third of fly-tipping in England.
The cost of investigations into fly-tipping and the disposal of illegal rubbish in London totalled at £18.4 million in 2016.
Ms Cooper added, “That’s why I’m working with local authorities from across London, holding a seminar at City Hall in March, to share best practice to tackle the scourge of mess on our streets.
“It is vital that our fashion and retail industry swiftly acts upon this wake-up call.”
Written with contributions from Kate Oglesby, Local Democracy Reporter
February 20, 2019