Retailers in Wales have just three days to register objections to a proposed charge for plastic bags.

Consultation on the move, which would see retailers forced to charge 5-15p for single-use bags, closes on September 21. Opponents believe that the scheme would burden retailers with red tape and say that existing voluntary schemes are already slashing bag use.

Speaking at the Association of Convenience Stores environment forum recently, Deborah Cook of the Welsh Assembly said the scheme would save retailers money as they would have to purchase fewer bags. However, they would have to record the number of bags given out, the charge levied and how the money had been allocated to charities and environmental projects.

Trading Standards would have the power to investigate if it believed it had cause, she said.

One retailer explained how a voluntary scheme in Scotland, with customers asked to pay 2p a bag, with 1p going to charity, had reduced bag use across 27 stores from 120,000 a week to 30,000. "A mandatory charge is just another hit in the pocket for small retailers," he said.

Welsh retailers can register their views by emailing carrierbagconsultation@wales.gsi.gov.uk.

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