Our island nation has been defined by its relationship with the sea. It has been our doorway to global trade, a treasure house of oil and gas, and the home to teeming stocks of fish. But now our oceans are in danger. Danger from climate change, from chemical residues, from exploitation and indeed from plastic. The equivalent of a dumper truck of plastic is dropped in the sea every minute of every day. Unless we change course, by the year 2050 the seas will contain more plastic than fish. We cannot, and we will not, allow that to happen. Which is why we need, in the words of Winston Churchill, action this day.
And we are acting. Already the plastic bag charge has cut the number distributed by almost 90 per cent. We are unleashing the innovative energy of our scientists, and the entrepreneurial flair of our businesses, to develop new greener products that are already generating new jobs.