The bag charge could go further
THE illusion of the free plastic bags was always just that, an illusion, and an expensive one. Retailers passed
on the cost to shoppers and we paid for their disposal through council taxes or other taxes used for clearing blocked drains.
It’s therefore a relief that seven years after it had the power, and tens of billions of plastic bags later, the Government has finally introduced a mandatory charge on single use carrier bags. All the evidence shows this will drastically reduce use and the environmental devastation they cause.
However, the Government’s misguided exemption for smaller retailers with a voluntary code is exactly the opposite of the universal plastic bag charge which local shops and their trade bodies wanted.
It’s at odds with all other regions in the UK and with the unanimous cross-party view from the London Assembly that a charge should apply to all single use carrier bags. So, a good step, but not far enough.