A PLAN to cut the use of plastics at County Hall has been "watered down" according to councillors.

Liberal Democrat, Green and Labour councillors felt that a motion to cut the use of plastics at County Hall was substantially watered down by Conservatives, but still voted for it.

Two motions about single use plastic came to the council chamber at the meeting of the entire county council yesterday.

One, put forward by Green and Lib Dem councillors asking the administration to request County Hall’s caterers Servest, replace plastic cups and cutlery with re-usable materials was forwarded to cabinet and will be discussed at its meeting in April.

The second was a Labour motion, which said the council ‘vowed’ to ‘stop providing plastic cups, bottles cutlery and straws at all its buildings, cafes and public events by the end of the year.'

The Labour group leader Peter McDonald accepted a Lib Dem amendment to say that the council would begin a programme to end such use by the end of year, on the grounds that replacing all the plastic items might take longer.

Then Councillor Tony Miller the Conservative cabinet member with responsibility for the environment introduced an amendment to say the council should just “encourage the use of alternative materials”, dropping the requirement to do so by the end of the year.

Cllr Miller said: “These things are already happening, if you take a cup to be refilled at the canteen you get a discount.

“I think it’s better to encourage people, to take them with you than beat them.”

Councillor McDonald called the intervention a “do nothing amendment” and added: “The heart of it is the timeframe, that something should be done by the end of the year, that a programme should be introduced by then.

“What would Councillor Miller do about those who won’t be encouraged? Encouragement takes too long.

Conservative councillor Ken Pollock said the real issue was littering and that most plastic pollution in the oceans was from Asia and described the motion at council as ‘virtue signalling’.

The amended motion was passed unanimously.