Environment minister Lord Henley has threatened the use of further measures, including legislation, to curb the number of single-use carrier bags after a 5% increase in bag use in England in 2010.
In a statement, Lord Henley described the figures, published by WRAP, as “not good enough”.
He said: “Retailers need to take responsibility and lift their game to cut down on the number of single-use carrier bags they hand out. If results do not improve we will consider additional measures to make this happen, including legislation.”
Although the figures indicate a 40% reduction in single carrier bag use across the UK relative to five years previously, an extra 0.3 billion carrier bags were used in England in 2010 over the previous year.
The decision to consider further action follows a pledge in the waste review to decide “whether and what further action might be needed” after publication of the 2011-12 single-use carrier bag figures and the impact of the proposed carrier bag levy in Wales.