PLASTICS AND ENVIRONMENT
Introduction of charge for carrier bags in Wales delayed until October 2011 / Minimum level of 5 pence
A statutory minimum charge of five pence (5.5 cents) will be made for single-use carrier bags in Wales, commencing 1 October 2011. Jane Davidson, the minister for environment, sustainability and housing at the Welsh Assembly Government (Cardiff / Wales; http://wales.gov.uk) issued a written statement on 1 November confirming the tax on disposable carriers would be introduced. This followed two policy consultations that stemmed from her initial decision to introduce a charge in November 2009 – Plasteurope.com of 09.11.2009.

Davidson said she believed a 5 pence (5.5 cents) charge would bring about significant cultural change without presenting an unwarranted obstacle in circumstances where a person genuinely forgets their reusable bag. Originally the minister had said the charge would be introduced in the spring of 2010 and it would be between 5 pence (5.5 cents) and 15 pence (16.55 cents) per bag. An estimated 350 million carrier bags were given away by the major supermarkets in Wales last year, but the existing voluntary agreement with retailers was now producing a slower improvement. Some may regard this as unsurprising as figures show there has been a 50% reduction in bags given away since 2006. However, the latest voluntary agreement in Wales has only been agreed to by seven retailers (the main supermarkets), not the 21 that had signed up to the first pact. This, said Davidson, meant further action was required. She believes the 1 October 2011 timing provides sufficient time for all retailers to be aware of the requirements and make the necessary changes.

The regulations will be brought forward for consideration by the National Assembly for Wales on 30 November. According to the Welsh Assembly Government, the introduction of a single-use charge led to consumption falling by 90% in the Republic of Ireland. Also, UK retailers are reporting at least an 83% reduction since introducing voluntary charges.
11.11.2010 Plasteurope.com [217740-0]
Published on 11.11.2010

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