In keeping with a government that seems to be happy to push the burden of cuts and recovery onto the individual rather than the body corporate, their latest wheeze involving mandatory charges for carrier bags from April once again puts the onus on individuals rather than big business, this time in an environmental capacity. There is so much froth and bluster from government about the issue, announced last September but back in the headlines today as it’s been described as a mess, that it neatly sidesteps the real environmental issues involving supermarkets- namely unsustainable farming practices and the food mile issue.
Given the power of the supermarkets, it makes complete sense to neatly sidestep the real issues and make another one up entirely. It’s worked too, as everyone seems to be arguing over the best way to charge people for carrier bags and sort the environmental impact out that way, rather than debating the actual environmental issues at the heart of it all. It’s not as if the government don’t know this either, in 2005 Defra said the direct environmental, social and economic costs of food transport are over £9 billion each year, and are dominated by congestion. And that’s before you consider that seasonal products are now available all year round thanks to produce being shipped from all over the world.