I AM CALLING for an urgent ban on some of the most polluting single-use items including cutlery, plates and polystyrene food containers - all of

which have now been banned across Europe.

From July 3 this year, single-use plastic cutlery, plates and polystyrene (among other things) have been banned across Europe as part of the EU’s

Single-use Plastics Directive. The ban was agreed by the UK when we were part of the EU, but now Westminster is dragging its feet.

If the UK wants to be a “global leader” then it has to lead on important environmental issues, not fall behind. In the wake of the G7 summit, and in

the lead up to COP26, when the eyes of the world are on the UK, the government is not only failing to take the lead on tackling plastics but is

falling behind our European neighbours and devolved nations within the UK.

Although not being part of the EU, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are ALL looking to implement this ban. Northern Ireland is compelled under the

Northern Ireland Protocol to have to have transposed “certain articles” of the directive by 2022 and both Scotland and Wales have proposed bans in

their own domestic markets.

The government has yet to open a consultation on the issue which means a decision, or a ban could be months, or even years away. We are now in

danger of falling behind the rest of Europe in implementing these very minimum steps.

Despite the welcome banning of straws, stirrers and cotton buds, in October 2020, the UK has yet to legislate for the banning of the rest of the items

included under the directive, which we know to be among the most polluting.

Packaging from take-away food and drinks is a huge cause of plastic pollution and items like plastic cutlery and take-away containers are consistently in the top ten most polluting items found on beaches around the world.

New research has revealed that food containers and food wrappers are among the four most widespread items polluting our oceans, rivers and beaches.

Gavin Muggeridge

Address supplied