OTLEY'S MP has accused the Government of 'empty rhetoric' on environmental issues.

Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West) made the comment after ministers rejected calls for a new charge to be introduced on disposable coffee cups.

A 'latte levy' of 25p per cup is being recommended by the Environmental Audit Committee - which Mr Sobel is a member of - as part of a strategy to cut plastic waste.

The group believes the move, similar to the 5p plastic bag tax, could have a dramatic impact

But the Government has now poured cold water on the idea, claiming it would be better for shops and cafes to offer voluntary discounts to customers who bring their own cups.

Mr Sobel said: "The government’s decision to not go ahead with the disposable coffee cup charge is very disappointing.

"This proves that their rhetoric of environmental action is completely empty - another U-turn from a do nothing government."

The Environmental Audit Committee's Chair, Mary Creagh, also accused ministers of being 'all talk and no action'.

The Government, meanwhile, in its response to the committee, said: "Coffee cups make up 0.7 per cent of total paper packaging waste in the UK.

"We believe it is important to look at the packaging and waste management system as a whole."

Some 2.5 billion disposable cups are thrown away each year in the UK.