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Yay or Nay: Is London ready for a plastic bag ban?

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A few years ago nobody would have thought it possible, but it emerged yesterday that the London Assembly is giving the green light to ban plastic bags throughout the capital.

The assembly, consisting of all 33 local authorities, is approving the so-called 'shopping bag bill', which reaches parliament on the 27th November, and aims to cut back on the 13 billion bags handed out to Londoners every year. At the moment, 4 billion of these end up in landfill. The assembly doesn't have the authority to ban bags by itself, but if the bill is approved, it could become law. Just think about it...no more plastic bags!

Or perhaps not. Polls have shown that most people are backing the ban, with 60 per cent wanting a ban or a charge of up to 15 pence per bag. But as ever, there's a fly in the ointment: Defra and the Treasury have already waded in to point out that in Ireland, where a bag tax was introduced in 2002, plastic bag usage overall has not dropped because the demand for stronger, heavier bags has resulted in just as much plastic being used in total.

What do you think about the proposal? Does the Irish example show it to be flawed, or have the nay-sayers got their facts wrong? Will shopaholic Londoners make the switch to reusable bags, and is it possible to police every single store in the capital for polyethylene crimes? If you live in London, will you be writing to your MP to support the ban?

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