Plastic straws could be banned in Britain after Brexit

Plastic straws could be banned in Britain after Brexit, Michael Gove said last night.

Asked if he would back a ban on the estimated 8.5billion single-use straws thrown away each year, the Environment Secretary said: “Watch this space."

He told the Daily Telegraph: “If it is bad, then banning it is a good thing."

Straws take up to 500 years to decompose and the Scottish government is planning to ban them by the end of 2019.

The government is also considering a ‘latte levy’ on coffee cups.

It came as official figures revealed the number of straws purchased by Parliament has doubled in the last three years.

Data from the House of Commons Commission showed the number of straws bought had gone up from 6,000 in 2014/15 to 12,250 in 2016/17.

SNP MP David Linden described the increase as "pretty alarming" after uncovering the information via a written parliamentary question.

Glasgow East MP Mr Linden asked Lib Dem former minister Tom Brake, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many single-use plastic straws were dispensed by catering outlets on the parliamentary estate in each of the last five years.

Mr Brake replied: "The exact number of single-use plastic straws dispensed by catering outlets on the parliamentary estate in each of the last five years is unknown.

"However the number of straws purchased by the House for this purpose was: 2012/13: 14,000; 2013/14: 16,250; 2014/15: 6,000; 2015/16: 9,000; 2016/17: 12,250."

Mr Linden told the Press Association: "We as legislators should be taking a lead on this and the fact that the figure has doubled since 2014/15 is pretty alarming. I will be using the next session of questions to the House of Commons Commission to raise this issue."

Mr Linden said he was prompted to ask the question following an initiative by Sunnyside Primary School in his constituency. He added he did not want to see the world’s oceans filled with plastic.

It was "now incumbent on MPs to take action on this issue" and the figures provided a real "call for action to cut down on the use of plastic straws".

Dozens of senior Tories, including Mr Gove, have promised to cut down on their plastic use for Lent in the latest sign of the party’s bid to burnish its green credentials.

A House of Commons spokesman said: "The House Service is currently reviewing the sustainability and environmental management of single-use disposable plastics in the House of Commons.

"A paper is to be submitted for discussion at the Administration Committee in March 2018 outlining the initiatives that can be taken forward to reduce the consumption of single-use disposable plastics on the estate and increase recycling rates of all waste materials."


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