Welsh retailers may have to start charging for single-use carrier bags following proposals announced by Environment minister Jane Davidson. In an attempt to cut down on the 480m plastic bags that are handed out every year in Wales, Davidson has called for a charge of between 10p and 15p be levied on every plastic bag handed out in stores.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has aired concerns about the administration burdens that this charge will bring for retailers as well as the potential loss of sales. ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Local shops across Wales have been leading the way in reducing the number of carrier bags that are given away. However the proposals are restrictive and will disproportionately impact smaller retailer who rely on customers visiting on impulse and not carrying a bag with them.

“The cost associated with the proposals for keeping records of numbers of bags given away and sold also needs to be seriously weighed up against the limited gains that will come about,” added Lowman.

The proposals are open for public consultation until September 21 with a view for the charges to be introduced in October 2010. Submissions can be made through the Welsh Assembly website - http://wales.gov.uk/consultations.