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EAC chair Joan Walley scolds Rogerson over response delay

The chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has accused the resource minister of delay in responding to a report on the plastic bags levy in England.

400_Joan-Walley

The EAC report published in February concluded the proposed scheme was “unnecessarily complicated” because it included exemptions for reusable and biodegradable bags.

Resource minister Dan Rogerson had said a formal response to the report was due on 7 April, but on 28 April he told opposition counterpart Barry Gardiner the Government was still considering the committee’s recommendations and would respond as soon as details had been finalised.

In a letter to Rogerson on 30 April (file right), EAC chair Joan Walley said it was disappointing not having yet received a response.

“You said that the Government response to the committee’s report on plastic bags would be late because Defra was still seeking the views of other departments,” she wrote.

“We reorganised our calendar to take evidence on the Government’s proposals and produced our report quickly in order to feed into the timescale of your consultation exercise.”

She then urged Defra to elaborate further the reasons for the delay. “In particular, we would like to know which departments are yet to provide their views and why they have not been able to do so, and your assessment of any sticking points in formulating a Government-wide response.”

The 5p levy is set to come into force in England in autumn 2015.

It has sparked a heated debate between sections of the plastics industry over the legitimacy of an exemption for biodegradable bags.

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