Plastic straws set to be banned in England

Plastic straws

The Government said it would consult with industry and give firms "sufficient time to adapt" before imposing the ban, which is unlikely to come into force until next year.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who was questioned by MPs yesterday (19 April) on the aims of the government's 25 Year Environment Plan, has been hinting at a ban on plastic straws since February, but in terms of legislative action, Scotland is a few steps ahead of England: Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced firm intentions to ban plastic straws in February.

Pointing at the recent bans on plastic bags, microbeads and a planned drinks container return scheme, the Prime Minister said the United Kingdom was a "world leader" in tackling plastic waste.

The UK government estimates that there are now more than 150m tonnes of plastic in the world's oceans, and that some 100,000 sea mammals and one million birds die from eating or becoming tangled in plastic waste each year.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday announced plans to ban plastic straws as early as next year, which would make her country the first to do so.

Britain will commit 61.4 million pounds ($110 million Cdn) at the summit to develop new ways of tackling plastic waste and help Commonwealth countries limit how much plastic ends up in the ocean.

Many bars and spirits producers have already taken it upon themselves to remove plastic straws from their businesses - and now the United Kingdom government could ban them outright in England.

"Single-use plastics are a scourge on our seas and lethal to our precious environment and wildlife so it is vital we act now".

"However, it's only through government, businesses and the public working together that we will protect our environment for the next generation - we all have a role to play in turning the tide on plastic".

The proposed ban is part of the government's wider waste strategy, which will include a call for evidence on how taxes could be used to address waste from single use plastics.

The consultation on single-use plastics comes after the United Kingdom announced its ambitions to significantly cut plastic waste, and is in line with similar proposals which have been made as part of the EU's plastics strategy.

Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, welcomed the ban but said it's important that the government goes beyond this ban and tackles other non-recyclable plastics.

Labour shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman said: "The Government has failed to bring forward a single piece of primary legislation on any of their announcements on the environment, farming or animal welfare since the last election".

"With the United Kingdom leaving the European Union in less than 12 months, there is a worrying lack of preparation to reassure the public that environmental standards won't suffer".

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