Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And the answer is?

Lord Stoddart of Swindon, a man who appears frequently on this blog, put down a perfectly reasonable Written Question:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 6 June (WA 57), what assessment they have made of the proportionality and subsidiarity of a European Union-wide ban on plastic bags.
The Written Question to which Lord Henley had replied on June 6 had been:
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the possibility raised by Mr Janez Potocnik, European Union Environmental Commissioner, of a European Union-wide ban on plastic carrier bags.
Well, it is hard to tell from the Ministerial Response what the assessment might be:
The Commission is currently consulting on a number of possible options for the reduction in the use of plastic carrier bags.

We will be engaging in this consultation.
Right, so what is HMG's assessment of the rules of proportionality and subsidiarity involved? Or in other words, should the matter of plastic bags be an EU competence or, for that matter, though that is not part of this question, government competence at all? Who knows? Not Lord Henley, who produced the following response, drafted for him by his very fine civil servants:
We are currently assessing the options proposed in the Commission consultation on a reduction in the use of plastic bags. These issues will be considered as part of the government response.
How long will they go on assessing?

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