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Call for plastic bag levy in England

A call for a mandatory charge on all single-use plastic bags in England has been made by the London Assembly.

A motion was passed unanimously by assembly members concerned at what was seen as the supermarkets’ failure to cut the number of bags given to their customers.

It called on the environment secretary to enact reserve legislation, part of the Climate Change Act 2008, to force retailers to introduce a levy on all single-use plastic bags.

The motion quoted WRAP figures indicating that supermarket customers used almost eight billion carrier bags in 2011, a 5.4% rise on the 2010 figure, with each person using an average of almost 11 a month.

Proposer Jenny Jones: “Free supermarket plastic bags are a myth; they cost us a lot money to deal with as damaging rubbish.

“The shame is that discarded bags are one of the easiest environmental problems to solve – a simple levy introduced in Ireland cut their number by 90% – yet in England, the number being given out by the big supermarkets is actually rising.”

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