The introduction of new legislation banning the sale of plastic drinking straws, plastic-stemmed cotton buds and plastic stirrers has been delayed because of the coronavirus crisis.


During a debate in the Commons, environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “Originally, the regulations were laid in March this year and set to come into force in April. However, in light of the unprecedented situation that this country has faced due to Covid-19, they were delayed to reduce the burden placed on industry and to avoid adding further to the demands placed on local authorities.”

She added: “We were asked to delay entry into force for a short time while we were in the peak of this crisis. Delaying the regulations was only a temporary measure in response to this crisis.”

The ban will apply to plastic drinking straws, plastic-stemmed cotton buds and plastic drink stirrers. It will include exemptions for those with medical needs or a disability to have continued access to plastic straws, but only registered pharmacies will be allowed to sell them.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The government’s decision to delay the legislation is welcome as this will give us time to implement these changes at a challenging time.”