PLASTIC straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds could be banned from sale in England under plans being set out by prime minister Theresa May.
Subject to a consultation, which environment secretary Michael Gove will launch later this year, the government is prepared to ban the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in England.
At the same time, 60 music festivals from around the UK have pledged to ban plastic straws, including Boomtown in Hampshire and Bestival in Dorset.
The prime minister has described plastic waste as ‘one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world’ and has urged Commonwealth leaders gathered in London to follow the UK’s example in tackling the problem.
She said: ‘Protecting the marine environment is central to our agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
‘The UK government is a world leader on this issue, and the British public have shown passion and energy embracing our plastic bag charge and microbead ban, and today we have put forward ambitious plans to further reduce plastic waste from straws, stirrers and cotton buds.
‘Together we can effect real change so that future generations can enjoy a natural environment that is healthier than we currently find it.’
The news has been welcomed by Bianca Carr, co-founder of the Final Straw Solent campaign, which is running in association with The News.
She said: ‘This is amazing news – it means we have achieved what we set out to do.
‘I spoke to a few pubs in Portsmouth the other day that weren’t keen on getting rid of plastic straws, but they won’t have much of a choice on that now.
‘This is something that will be so beneficial for the wildlife as well, so I’m really excited by the news.
‘Our plan now is to get as many companies from the wider area, such as Southampton and Chichester, on board with the campaign, so that when the ban hits we can start focusing on other things such as coffee cups.’
Tanya Steele, chief executive of the WWF, has also welcomed the news.
She said: ‘Straws are literally sucking the life out of our oceans.
‘Stamping them out, along with cotton buds, stirrers and other needless plastic, is another step towards ending the scourge of plastic choking our oceans and killing our precious marine wildlife.
‘Like the ban on plastic bags before it, this kind of action is needed to end plastic suffocating our oceans and to protect our world for generations to come.
‘However, more needs to be done and it needs to happen quickly, which is why we’re calling for a ban on all avoidable single-use plastic by 2025.’