Political support for the introduction of plastic bag charges in England is growing in strength.

An Early Day Motion has been tabled by Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith and signed by 19 MPs, urging the government to follow Wales’ lead and introduce a charge for single-use bags.

The call to action was echoed in a motion from the London Assembly, which urged the government to introduce a mandatory charge following “the failure of supermarkets to prevent an increase in the number of single-use plastic bags issued by them, through voluntary measures, over the past two years”.

The motion was amended by Assembly Member Andrew Boff to take into account small businesses’ concerns. “We recognise that these are difficult times for small businesses so it is essential that any levy on single-use bags does not put 
an unnecessary burden on them,” he said.

Figures from environmental group Wrap have revealed that almost eight billion plastic bags were distributed in 2011, up 5.4% on 2010’s 7.57 billion.