UK Government accused of blocking European Union plastic bag ban


A joint statement from European environmental organisations has accused the UK Government of blocking a proposal to cut the use of plastic carrier bags.

The European Environmental Bureau, Surfrider Foundation Europe, Fundació Prevenció de Residus i Consum and Bag Free World have joined together to condemn the actions of the UK and some smaller EU nations for wanting action on plastic bags to be left to national governments.


A target of reducing use of plastic bags by 80 per cent by 2019 has been proposed by the European Parliament, along with a requirement for shops to charge for the bags.

Despite plans to introduce a ban in England in 2015 and existing charges in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the UK Government has refused to back the proposals in the EU Council of Ministers, according to the four associations.

They also accuse the UK of preventing a ban on oxo-degradable plastics, which they say are neither recyclable or compostable.

Negotiations between the EU Council of Ministers, European Parliament and European Commission are due to take place on 14 November. If an agreement is not reached, then the proposals will have to either return to the drawing board or may be dropped.

European Environmental Bureau policy office on waste Piotr Barczak said: “This basically amounts to a failure to respect either the environment or public opinion. In spite of strong backing across political groups in the Parliament for the proposal and massive popular support for reductions, the UK and some other countries in the Council persist in showing a complete disregard for the awful environmental consequences of pollution from plastic bags.”