An estimated 100 billion carrier bags are used per year in the EU, an average of around 200 per person. 8 billion of these end up as litter, many of them in Europe’s seas.
The EU proposal will set a target of reducing plastic bag use by 50% within three years and 80% by 2020.
Liberal Democrat European Environment spokesperson Chris Davies commented:
“It is clear that we need an EU-wide approach to prevent the enormous damage being done by plastic bag waste to Europe’s seas and beaches. Plastic bags not only blight our landscape, they pose a serious threat to marine wildlife.”
“Three-quarters of seabirds and one third of fish in the English Channel have been found to be contaminated by plastic waste, much of it from plastic bags.”
“By voting against these proposals, the Tories are sending out a clear signal that they don’t care about preserving our marine environment for future generations.”
Mr Davies added:
“Today’s vote sets an ambitious target while giving each each EU country the flexibility to decide how best to meet it.”
“Liberal Democrats have already led the way on this issue in Government with the introduction of a 5p charge for single use carrier bags from Autumn next year. We now want to see similar action taken across Europe.”