All petitions will close at 00.01am on Thursday 30 May.

There will be a General Election on Thursday 4 July. This means that Parliament has to be dissolved and that all parliamentary business – including petitions – will stop.

Find out more on the Petitions Committee website

Closed petition Ban the sale of flying plastic rings to help protect marine wildlife

Flying Ring, Frisbees with holes whatever you want to call them, are harming our marine wildlife. The sale of them needs to be banned. Every year there are reports of hundreds of seals ending up injured or dead because of a simple toy.

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Flying rings get embedded into seals necks and cause, I should imagine, a lot of pain.

Seal pups are apparently inquisitive mammals so often play with these rings when they find them. It then gets stuck on their neck and as they grow it gets tighter and tighter until eventually they choke or starve to death. Please ban the sale.

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Issues affecting marine mammals to be investigated by MPs

The MPs on the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee have launched an inquiry into issues affecting marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and porpoises. The investigation by the Committee will cover marine mammals in UK waters and worldwide.

Find out more about the Committee's inquiry: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/6670/marine-mammals/news/166148/mps-examine-protecting-whales-and-other-marine-mammals/

The Committee will be considering the following questions:

  • What is the status of marine mammal populations?
  • How, and for what purpose, are marine mammals being killed?;
  • Beyond whaling, what human behaviours are affecting whale populations and how?;
  • How effective are the global protections of marine mammals?;
  • How can the UK better protect marine mammals?; and
  • What role can the UK Government play to protect and promote the conservation of marine mammals internationally?

Why has the Committee launched this inquiry?

Whales, dolphins and porpoises are a group of marine mammals collectively known as cetaceans. During the 19th and 20th centuries many cetacean populations collapsed due to over-hunting.

A moratorium on the commercial hunting of whales was introduced in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission. The recovery from near extinction of some whale populations, such as humpback whales, is considered a major conservation success story. However, some other populations, such as North Atlantic Right Whales remain critically endangered.

Despite the moratorium some counties continue to hunt whales. There are also several human-made hazards, beyond whaling, that threaten marine mammal populations. These include ocean noise, bycatch (where mammals are inadvertently caught by fishers), ship collision, pollution and climate change. There have also been reports that the number of ‘strandings’ (on land) is on the rise. Other marine mammal populations such as seals, manatees and dugongs are also thought to be affected by these human-made hazards.

The aim of the Committee's inquiry is to better to understand the role that Britain can play in protecting marine mammals in UK waters and worldwide.

Keep up to date on the Committee's inquiry

Updates on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee's inquiry into marine mammals, including upcoming evidence sessions, will be published here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/6670/

You can also follow the committee on Twitter for updates on its work: https://twitter.com/CommonsEFRA

What is the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee?

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is a cross-party group of MPs that look into the work of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Find out more about the committee on its website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/52/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is a select committee. Find out how select committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Get involved in the work of the UK Parliament

Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference: https://parliament.us16.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=3ad7e4c57a864f07e4db008c4&id=26d0645ea9

MPs call for ban on all plastic waste exports

MPs on the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee have called for a ban on the export of all plastic waste from the UK by 2027 to reduce the country's contribution to global plastic waste pollution. 

Read a summary of the Committee's report on plastic waste

Report on ending the impact of plastic waste

Earlier this month, the Committee published a report on the impact of plastic waste and ways of reducing it. In their report, MPs called on the Government to restrict the amount of plastic that can be exported from the UK. They also called on the Government to step up the enforcement of existing rules to prevent criminal gangs illegally exporting and dumping UK-produced waste. 

The report follows a series of evidence sessions earlier this year, where the Committee questions representatives from charities, environmental campaigners and commercial trade experts. At these sessions the Committee explored:

  • whether the Government’s current ambitions to reduce plastic waste were enough
  • how alternatives to plastic consumption can be identified and supported
  • how England's current plastic exports impact other countries.

Find out more about the Committee's inquiry into plastic waste and read oral evidence from the Committee's inquiry.

What is the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee? 

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is a cross-party group of backbench MPs that scrutinises the administration, spending and policy of the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. 

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Share your insights and ideas on reducing plastic pollution in the oceans

On Thursday, 27 April, Selaine Saxby MP will lead a debate in Parliament on reducing plastic pollution in the oceans.

To inform the debate, she would like to hear your insights and ideas on the topic. She may quote your contribution directly during her debate. 

Find out more and share your ideas with her by midday on Wednesday 26 April: 

Reducing plastic pollution in the oceans

Videos of the debate, the transcript of what was said, and other relevant material will be accessible shortly after the debate on this webpage. 

What are backbench business debates?

Backbench business debates give backbenchers (MPs who aren’t ministers or shadow ministers) an opportunity to secure a debate on a topic of their choice, either in the main House of Commons Chamber or Westminster Hall, the second chamber of the House of Commons.

MPs can make a request for a debate to the Backbench Business Committee, who hears requests and decides which debates to schedule.

Backbench debates can either be general debates (which do not end in a vote) or be on a substantive motion (which calls for an action and can end in a vote). This debate will be a general debate.

MPs debate protection of seals

On Tuesday 27 June, Sarah Olney MP led a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament on protection of seals.

During the debate MPs discussed existing protections for seals, and how legislation and education could better protect seals.

What are Westminster Hall debates?

Westminster Hall is the second Chamber of the House of Commons.

Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local or national issues and receive a response from a government minister. Any MP can take part in a Westminster Hall debate.

Debates in Westminster Hall take place on ‘general debate' motions expressed in neutral terms. These motions are worded ‘That this House has considered [a specific matter]'.

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MPs call for new measures to protect marine mammals

MPs on the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee have called for action by the Government to help protect marine mammals in the UK and abroad.

Report on protecting marine mammals in the UK and abroad

Last month, the Committee published a report on the issues affecting marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and porpoises and made recommendations to increase marine mammal protection.

The report calls on the Government to implement the following key measures:

  • Launch an initiative to fund the development of new technological solutions to marine mammal monitoring
  • Accelerate the pace of action on management plans for protected areas in UK waters
  • Work with the devolved administrations to bring down bycatch numbers
  • Produce an action plan to work towards mandatory bycatch monitoring
  • Bring in bespoke primary legislation on marine mammal protection
  • Include commitments to marine mammal conservation in new trade agreements

You can read a summary of the Committee's report, and the Committee's full report on their website.

The Government now must respond to the committee's report, which was published on 28 June 2023, within two months. The committee will publish the Government’s response on the Committee's website.

What is the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee?

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is a cross-party group of backbench MPs that scrutinises the administration, spending and policy of the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is a select committee. Find out how select committees work.

Get involved in the work of the UK Parliament

Sign up to the Your UK Parliament newsletter for the latest information on how to get involved and make a difference.