POOLE councillors will be urged to scrap single-use plastics at a meeting on Tuesday.

It follows the Chancellor’s announcement in the recent Budget of a consultation on the introduction of taxing and charging single-use plastic items to help prevent pollution in the world’s oceans and to protect the environment.

The move forms part of the Government’s 25-year environment strategy and comes after the plastic carrier bag levy and a ban on microbeads.

Opposition councillor Mike Brooke has submitted a motion to council, urging them to lead a campaign to make Poole a ‘Plastic Free Coastline Community’. The Cornish town of Penzance became the first place in the UK this week to join the initiative and restrict its use of plastic.

In addition to abandoning its use of plastic cups and other items, it is hoped the council will mount a publicity campaign to try and persuade local retail businesses to move over to fully biodegradable coffee cups and scrap the use of plastic straws. Schools are also encouraged to play their part in the scheme.

Cllr Brooke said: “Now that the Chancellor seems to be backing this campaign, we need Poole council to get behind the proposals to rid our streets, countryside and seaside of plastic.

“Plastic bottles, coffee cups and straws are causing untold damage to our wildlife, environment and coastline. It is important for future generations that we should make every effort to move away from plastic packaging altogether. There are perfectly adequate alternative re-usable and biodegradable products available.”

Councillors who have signed the motion are urging Poole council to adopt a five-point plan, which includes removing at least three single-use plastic items – e.g. straws, bottles, bags, or condiment sachets – from local businesses.

It also includes arranging community events, street or beach cleans, and setting up a steering group to co-ordinate the actions.

Cllr Vikki Slade said: “This is a major victory for the environment and for the Liberal Democrats, who have long been demanding action to tackle plastic waste. We now need to make sure this consultation leads to real action and isn’t just kicking the cup down the road. Tough measures are needed to reduce plastic debris polluting our rivers, seas and countryside.”

There are concerns that more than a million birds and 100,000 sea mammals and turtles die every year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.

It is a danger to wildlife highlighted most recently by Sir David Attenborough in the BBC’s Blue Planet II series, describing the “heartbreaking” sight of an albatross feeding plastic to its young chick instead of fish.

The amount of single-use plastic wasted every year in the UK is enough to fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls – and one in three fish caught in the English Channel contain pieces of plastic, the government said.