Sunday, 15 July 2007

London could be plastic bag free

London’s council leaders have put together a proposal to either ban plastic bags from shops or introduce a 10p levy. The proposal has been agreed by all 33 local authorities in London and will be put to parliament in November. This is possibly the best idea to come from the London Councils in a long time. Unfortunately, the government does not share the councils concern for the environment and is likely to oppose the move. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is also opposed to proposal. We use around 10 billion plastic bags a year in the UK, which adds up to a huge environmental impact.

Defra have made an agreement with retailers to reduce the numbers of plastic bags they use by a quarter by 2008. A Defra spokesperson said “This agreement is working, with retailers offering shoppers reusable bags for life. We don't think a ban or a levy is the right way to go” The question is why not? In Ireland a levy of 20p per plastic bag has reduced the numbers used by 90%. The same Defra spokesperson said that in Ireland the use of bin liners has gone up as a result of the plastic bag tax. This seems a strange correlation to me, but they’re the experts. I think we Londoners should lobby our MP’s to get this 10p tax on plastic bags into effect as soon as possible.

[Via The Guardian]

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