Wales ready to get tougher on ‘throw away’ plas­tic bags

Caernarfon Herald - - CHARITY FOCUS -

WALES is go­ing to bring in new mea­sures to crack down on peo­ple us­ing dis­pos­able plas­tic bags in shops.

It was re­vealed yes­ter­day that Eng­land’s 5p charge for plas­tic bags is to dou­ble to 10p.

The pol­icy, which was first in­tro­duced in Wales in 2011, has slashed plas­tic bag use by more than 70% but cam­paign­ers say it is not enough.

The Welsh Gov­ern­ment says it is con­sid­er­ing a num­ber of ways to re­duce the num­ber of bags pur­chased.

It is thought that in­creas­ing the charge to 10p is just one of these.

When asked if the Welsh Gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to fol­low Eng­land’s ex­am­ple, a spokesman said: “Wales was the first UK na­tion to in­tro­duce a sin­gle-use car­rier bag charge and has recorded sub­stan­tial re­duc­tions in car­rier bag usage.

“We are cur­rently con­sid­er­ing ways in which we can fur­ther re­duce the num­ber of new car­rier bags be­ing bought by con­sumers.”

UK gov­ern­ment en­vi­ron­ment sec­re­tary Michael Gove said the cur­rent 5p charge will be dou­bled and will ap­ply at all shops across the bor­der, not just large re­tail­ers, un­der the mea­sures aimed at curb­ing plas­tic con­sump­tion.

The changes, which could come into ef­fect in Jan­uary 2020, are con­tained in a con- sul­ta­tion which has been launched by the gov­ern­ment.

Mr Gove said: “The 5p sin­gle-use plas­tic car­rier bag charge has been ex­tremely suc­cess­ful in re­duc­ing the amount of plas­tic we use in our ev­ery­day lives. Be­tween us, we have taken over 15 bil­lion plas­tic bags out of cir­cu­la­tion. But we want to do even more to pro­tect our pre­cious planet and to­day’s an­nounce­ment will ac­cel­er­ate fur­ther be­hav­iour change and build on the suc­cess of the ex­ist­ing charge.”

Sin­gle-use plas­tics are one of the big­gest is­sues fac­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, with a num­ber of re­tail­ers curb­ing their use.

The is­sue made head­lines when high­lighted by the BBC’s Blue Planet II doc­u­men­tary ear­lier this year.

Oceanog­ra­pher Dr Laura Foster, head of Clean Seas at the Ma­rine Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety (MCS), said she hoped there would be sup­port for the 10p charge in Eng­land.

Dr Foster said: “We know that leg­is­la­tion can di­rectly im­pact on the amount we find in our oceans.”

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