Express claims the EU is banning plastic bags (again)

26 March 2012



The Daily Express returns to a familiar theme on its front page this morning, accusing "Brussels commissars" of trying to pave the way for ban on plastic bag use.

Regular readers may remember that the same paper made the same claim last year, and when we looked in to the detail we found that a ban was by no means certain. So what are the facts?

The European Commission plans to publish a Green Paper on plastic waste in the summer which will recommend policy solutions to deal with the problem of plastic bag use. 

This comes after last year's three-month consultation over the issue, which asked more than 15,000 respondents whether, among other things, they favoured an outright EU-level ban on plastic carrier bags.

That over half of them strongly agreed with it may have lent weight to calls for plastic bag prohibition, but to accuse "meddling EU bureaucrats" of planning a ban on plastic shopping bags in Britain is presumptuous. A number of potential measures were proposed in the consultation and none have yet been decided upon, something the Express tacitly acknowledges by pointing to "a wallet-busting tax" as an alternative policy under consideration.

The front-page headline however gives no indication of this uncertainty, and could have given casual readers a misleading impression.

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