The bag charge could go fur­ther

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION - JENNY JONES AM Green Party Group Lon­don As­sem­bly

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.

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