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Import tariffs could change ‘to minimise economic impacts’ of single-used plastics ban

Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, at a post-Throne Speech press conference (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The first phase in the Government’s plan to reduce single-use plastics will start in this parliamentary session, the Minister of Home Affairs confirmed.

Walter Roban said that the plan was to make sure of "the most positive impact on the environment and human health“ while minimising any adverse economic effects.

He explained that the Government was aware it needed to have realistic phase-out periods, and to communicate legislated requirements clearly.

Mr Roban added that there must be allowances for some single-use plastic items that do not have alternatives as well as exemptions for medical and other uses.

He said: “Further public consultations will occur. These include meeting with and sharing the draft legislation with those most affected, such as grocery stores, importers, restaurants, caterers, retail outlets and those in the hospitality industry to obtain their feedback.

“We will also explore how the Government can help businesses manage the move away from single-use plastic.

“Considerations include altering import tariffs to minimise economic impacts.

“At the same time, we will continue public education campaigns designed to support the behavioural changes required from all of us.”

In a presentation on plans announced in the Throne Speech, Mr Roban said he wished to expand on the Marine Development Act.

The minister said that “the public will be aware of the extensive consultation on the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan that started on September 12 and continues to be progressed by the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme”.

He added: “Originally scheduled to end on November 12, the consultation period was extended to December 31, 2022, to give the public and key stakeholder groups more time to understand and provide feedback on how the plan will shape the economic and environmental decisions around Bermuda's marine environment.

“Thus far, the information collected from the public consultation period has helped refine the draft plan to ensure it achieves the social, economic, and environmental impacts that matter to the people of Bermuda.”

He said the Government will table legislation providing the framework for managing the Marine Spatial Plan and introduce the governance structure of a Blue Economy Fund.

“This fund will also provide the investment model for the Green Energy Fund, which will be the source for the introduction of community solar," the minister added.

Mr Roban explained that the community solar scheme will not usually require licences from the Regulatory Authority.

He added: “It will serve as an investment vehicle and provide entrepreneurial and solar installer job opportunities for Bermudians.

“Community solar through the Green Energy Fund will not only fund the solar installations throughout our community, provide dividends to investors but, perhaps most importantly, benefit those families that cannot afford to invest in the installation of the projects.

“Amendments to the Electricity Act 2016 will allow the launch of this exciting new and innovative framework.”

To read the minister’s remarks in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.

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Published November 15, 2022 at 7:46 am (Updated November 15, 2022 at 7:46 am)

Import tariffs could change ‘to minimise economic impacts’ of single-used plastics ban

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