29/02/2008

PM Warns Stores Over Plastic Bags

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has warned retailers that he will force them to cut the number of plastic bags they use, unless they take action to reduce them voluntarily.

Mr Brown made his comments in an article in the 'Daily Mail', which is campaigning for plastic bags to be banned. He said: "I want to make clear that if government compulsion is needed to make the change, we will take the necessary steps. We do not take such steps lightly - but the damage that single-use plastic bags inflict on the environment is such that strong action must be taken."

The Prime Minister praised firms such as Ikea, which stopped providing single-use plastic bags in its stores last year, and Marks & Spencer, which announced it would be charging 5p per bag from May 6.

Mr Brown said that the government would look at initiatives from countries around the world before deciding on what action should be taken in Britain.

However, the Conservatives have released official figures, which showed that government departments and agencies have bought more than 1.2 million plastic bags branded with promotional logos over the past two years.

Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles called it the "height of hypocrisy" and said that the government should "practice what they preach".

(KMcA)




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