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Green Week: Liz Lynne MEP calls for plastic bag ban in European Parliament

June 8, 2010 6:27 PM
Originally published by Liz Lynne
Liz Lynne is calling for plastic bags to be banned in the European Parliament

Lib Dem Euro MP Liz Lynne is marking EU Green Week with a call for plastic carrier bags to be banned in the European Parliament

The European Parliament is making good progress cutting its carbon footprint, reports Liz Lynne MEP, with 100% of the electricity used in the Parliament now coming from renewable sources.

New measures put in place under the Parliament's Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) include systems to switch off office computers automatically each evening and photoelectric cells installed in some areas of the building which adjust lighting according to the levels of natural light coming through the windows.

Lib Dem Euro MP Liz Lynne has welcomed the changes but believes more could be done including her proposal for a ban on plastic bags in the Parliament's shops, while environmental progress is still massively undermined by the monthly trips to the second Parliament at Strasbourg.

Speaking today in Brussels, Liz Lynne said:

"This week we have been celebrating Green Week. I am delighted that the European Parliament is committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 30% by 2020, but there is much more that can still be done.

"I have written to the President of the Parliament to ask whether plastic bags could be banned in the Parliament's shops and for people to use jute bags, or if really necessary recycled paper bags to be sold at counters. This would cut waste and hopefully encourage people to reuse the bags they have.

"Unfortunately, our monthly trips to Strasbourg make a mockery of our efforts to tackle climate change. The Parliament is working hard to reduce its carbon footprint where it can, but ridiculously cannot change where it sits.

"A vast majority of MEPs want a single seat for the Parliament, yet because of what past national governments, including the British and French, have agreed, we are stuck with this unpopular travelling circus which costs over £130 million each year.

"I am delighted that the new coalition agreement contains a pledge to put pressure on the EU to scrap Strasbourg sessions and sit only in Brussels, this can't come soon enough!"

ENDS

Notes to Editors: The Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament have long called for a single seat for the Parliament in Brussels. The European Parliament is the only parliament in the world to sit in more than one official chamber. MEPs divide their time between Strasbourg and Brussels. Unfortunately, it is also the only parliament in the world that does not have the right to decide where it sits. John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty establishing this arrangement which can only be reversed by a unanimous decision by all EU Heads of State.

The EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is a management tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate, report and improve their environmental performance. The scheme has been available for participation by companies since 1995 (Council Regulation (EEC) No 1836/93 of 29 June 1993) and was originally restricted to companies in industrial sectors. Since 2001 EMAS has been open to all economic sectors including public and private services (Regulation (EC) No 761/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2001

Participation is voluntary and extends to public or private organisations operating in the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) - Iceland , Liechtenstein , and Norway .