The government has come under further pressure to introduce a charge for single use plastic bags in England.
During Oral questions in the Lords, Labour’s Lord Anderson of Swansea asked what objections the government had to introducing such a levy and Liberal Democrat Baroness Parminter urged the government to introduce a charge to help “protect our environment”.
Defra Minister Lord de Mauley said data from the first year of the Welsh scheme, which would be available in the summer, would be considered when looking at potential legislation. “We are considering these schemes and the available evidence carefully so that we can make a fully informed decision on a possible charge for England,” he said.
Wales introduced a charge on single use carrier bags in October 2011, and Northern Ireland followed suit in April 2013. Scotland is currently considering the introduction of a charge.
Plaid Cyrmu’s Lord Wigley praised the Welsh scheme and highlighted evidence which suggested a “90% reduction in the use of single-use plastic bags”.
Lord de Mauly also warned of “unintended consequences” from the introduction of charges for single use plastic bags, such as in the Republic of Ireland where there had been an increase in the sale of bin liners as consumers no longer used free plastic bags to line their bins, and a rise in the sale of bags for life which needed to be used four times to offset their production cost to the environment.