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New 10p plastic carrier bag charge to be introduced in all shops from May 21

Shoppers will be charged 10p for using plastic bags in all UK shops from next month, a minister has said.

The proposal is aimed at reducing the number of disposable bags by “billions”, doubling the charge currently in place.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow told Politics Home that the charge will be introduced from May 21.

The charge will apply regardless of the size of the shop.

Since 2015, when a 5p carrier bag charge was introduced, only stores which employ 250 people or more were required to do so, while smaller shops could do it voluntarily.

Under the new rules, businesses which fail to do so will face fines – although the amount has not been confirmed.

Plastic bag use has fallen 95 per cent since a 5p charge was introduced in 2015, the government says
Plastic bag use has fallen 95 per cent since a 5p charge was introduced in 2015, the government says

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that the number of carrier bags in supermarkets has fallen by 95 per cent since the charge came into force – and plans to expand it further.

It anticipates the latest move will have an equally profound expect, the department said in a statement.

A Defra spokeswoman told The Mirror: “The UK is a global leader when it comes to tackling plastic and our 5p carrier bag charge has cut sales by 95% in the main supermarkets.

Defra anticipates single-use plastic bag use will drop by a further 80 per cent
Defra anticipates single-use plastic bag use will drop by a further 80 per cent

“There is more to do though. To take billions more bags out of circulation and step up our war on plastic pollution, we will go further by increasing the minimum charge to 10p and extending it to all retailers this spring.

“Our landmark Environment Bill will give us the powers to take further action to protect our ecosystems from plastic and break our plastic habit for good.”

Defra estimates the extension of the charge to small and medium-sized retailers will decrease single-use bag usage by a further 70 to 80 per cent.

The announcement had been set to be made earlier this month, but was pushed back following the death of Prince Philip, Politics Home reports.

Under the new rules, councils will have more enforcement powers to prevent people burning wet wood.

Further ahead, everyone in the UK will be encouraged to plant something in the build-up to the UN Climate Change Conference, which will be held in Glasgow in November.



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