ACS Calls for Local Shops to be Included in Carrier Bag Levy Plans

16 Dec 2013

ACS has responded to the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into plastic bags, calling for local shops to be able to be included in the forthcoming plastic bag charge in England in 2015.

In the submission, ACS called on the Government not to exclude small shops from charging for single-use carrier bags and giving the proceeds to good causes. It highlighted the success that the scheme is already having in Wales and the enthusiasm that retailers in England are also showing to be included in the charge.

ACS Public Affairs Director Shane Brennan said: “Retailers in Wales are already seeing the benefit of the carrier bag levy that has been in place there since 2011. Not only have they been able to save money, but it’s also a positive way of having a greater part to play in the community.

“We have also heard from English retailers charging on a voluntary basis, who have succeeded to strengthen ties with their communities in donating proceeds from their carrier bag charge to local schools and charities. ACS is keen to show the Committee’s MPs that there is a strong appetite among local shops to charge for plastic bags.

“However, we are strongly recommending that smaller businesses should be excluded from having to report back to Government to avoid unnecessary regulatory burdens.”

The inquiry follows the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement that a levy on single-use plastic bags will be introduced in England from autumn 2015, but that businesses with fewer than 250 employees will be excluded from the charge.

In response to a story appearing in the national media today, ACS has clarified its position as follows: ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said: “In the absence of legislation in England and Scotland, it is for individual companies to decide whether to charge for single use carrier bags. However, as set out in our submissions to Government and Parliament, we favour a charge being universally imposed through legislation as has been successfully implemented in Wales.”