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MP’s warn that new 5p charge on carrier bags will be ‘watered down’

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The new 5p carrier bag charge is due to start in England from October 2015, after a successful scheme in Wales, and Scotland due to start in October this year.

However, unlike Wales and Scotland, the smaller retailers in England are exempt from the charge.

MP’s warned that allowing small retailers to not enforce the 5p carrier bag charge will risk diluting the plan to reduce waste.

Joan Walley MP, Chair of parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee said: “The decision to only include large retailers is particularly short-sighted and ignores calls from all of the main small retailer organisations to be included in the scheme.”

The Committee found an exemption was not supported by the Association of Convenience Stores, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents or the British Retail Consortium.

Ms Walley added: “The Government should think again… [It] should tell us which trade bodies are against, so that we can see exactly what the evidence says for ourselves.”

MPs were however pleased the Government is not continuing plans to exempt a charge for ‘biodegradable plastic bags’ because of the “contamination” risk this would pose for the UK’s recycling industry.




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