Government plans to ban plastic items in a bid to limit pollution have been welcomed in the pub trade.

Today the government announced a ban on single use plastic items including straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds, which will come into force in April 2020.

The ban will build on voluntary initiatives already made by the pub sector – such as the Last Straw campaign, in conjunction with the British Institute of Innkeeping – to remove plastic straws and stirrers.

Responding to DEFRA's announcement on single-use plastics this morning, Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality said: "We fully support the government's objective to drastically reduce unnecessary single-use plastic.

"We are pleased that the government has recognised the genuine need of some of our customers, with today's announcement exempting hospitality venues, by allowing straws for customers upon request, which is a practice that the sector was rapidly implementing or moving towards.

"The hospitality sector has voluntarily made significant progress in reducing the availability and use of plastic straws and stirrers, motivated both by a moral duty and our customers' environmental concerns."

The move has also been welcomed by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the BBPA, said: "It's important we all do our bit to reduce plastic waste and that is why we welcome the government's ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.

"It is important that the ban recognises the needs of customers with a disability who require plastic straws, so pubs will still be able to provide them on request. We will work with the government to ensure that the right guidance is put in place for this.

"The ban will build on the great work already done by pubs to reduce their waste plastic. Publicans looking for advice on alternatives to plastic straws specifically, can also read our guidance."