Plans to charge for plastic bags which were set to be enforced from tomorrow have been put on hold until the measures get further government approval.
The charges were set to be applied from March 1 until 2020 when the bags would be banned. Legislation governing the ban will now be set to the EU and State Council before going to the Council of Ministers for the final go ahead.
Sources close to Spain’s environment ministry have said authorities cannot specify a date for when the charges would come into force but they are expected to start being applied this year.
The ministry has had to send proposals to the European Commission for assessment before they are enforced in Spain, according to the same sources.
The rules were set to make companies charge between five and 15 cents for bags with a thickness of between 15 and 50 microns, which covers most of those consumed in Spain. Bags with a thickness of less than 15 microns would still have been free under the measures.
A total ban on the sale of the bags was then set to come into force from January 2020. The exceptions to this were those above 50 microns which are more suited for reuse and those made of degradable materials.
The Royal Decree on the plans was part of a government effort to bring EU regulations on plastic bags into Spanish law.
The use of plastic bags in Spain fell by around half in less than a decade, from 317 bags per person in 2007 to 144 bags in 2014, according to industry data.