Welsh retailers may have to start charging for single-use carrier bags following proposals announced by Welsh environment minister Jane Davidson.

Davidson has called for a charge of between 10p and 15p to be levied on every plastic bag handed out in stores in an attempt to cut down on the 480 million plastic bags that are handed out every year in Wales.

Retail groups fear the move will increase the administrative burden on small businesses, as well as leading to a 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 given away. However, the proposals are restrictive and will disproportionately impact the smaller retailer who relies on customers visiting on impulse and not carrying a bag with them.

Stephen Pearse, who runs Taxi Newsagents in Rhuddlan, Clwyd, said that a charge on bags wouldn't make much difference to his business. "A lot of customers already use reusable bags so we'll probably see an increase in those," he said. "I can't see customers not shopping here just because they have to pay for a bag."

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