Environment Minister Lord Henley has said that the Government would look at a ban on plastic bags.
He also said that the Government could also “look at” reducing the different types of plastics that are used for packaging.
In answer to a question in the House of Lords last week by Baroness Finlay on whether England would consider following the Welsh Government example of introducing a charge from 1 October for plastic bags, he said: “My Lords, I have not always been the greatest fan of devolution but one of its great advantages is that we can profit from lessons learnt in other countries. We will certainly look carefully at what they are doing in Wales and keep an eye on that.”
Then when asked by Lord McConnell if the Government would follow the example of Rwanda which has banned plastic bags completely, with a resultant drop in litter, Lord Henley added: “That is an option that one could look at. We are not happy that the decline in the use of single-use plastic bags has not been maintained and that there has been an increase. When we got those figures in the summer, I made it clear that, if we do not see an improvement, we may have to consider additional measures in the future, and we will certainly learn from all other countries.”
He was then asked by Baroness Eaton whether the Government would consider having its experts draw up a list of recommended materials for recycling and replied: “My noble friend is quite right to draw to the House’s attention the problems of the vast variety of different plastics that we use – I cannot remember how many there are – and the problems of recycling them. I think that currently we recycle some 24 per cent of packaging. We would like to get that figure up. Obviously it might be easier to do that if we could reduce the number of different forms of plastic, but that would take quite a long time, a great many behavioural changes and changes by the producers. Certainly, as my noble friend suggests, it is something that we could look at.”