Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of MRW, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Newsagents urge Stewart to extend 5p bag levy in England

Newsagents have added their voice to calls for the 5p plastic bag charge in England to be extended to all shops, and say the resource minister is “sympathetic”.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NRFN) is concerned that smaller shops will be forced to hand out more plastic bags to compensate for larger stores no longer doing so under the legislation which came into effect in England on 5 October.

As a result, the federation argues that it will cost smaller shops more and will not have the desired effect of preventing the environmental damage of single-use plastic bags.

In September, MRW reported that many SMEs were charging the levy voluntarily.

NFRN chief executive Paul Baxter and public affairs chairman Mike Mitchelson met the Defra minister responsible, Rory Stewart, at the Conservative Party Conference.

They urged that the 5p levy be extended, and reported that Stewart was “sympathetic”, saying the NRFN’s concerns would be taken into account when the legislation was reviewed.

Mitchelson said: “The success of schemes in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland offers an excellent example of how the levy can work to include businesses of all sizes, having the best possible chance of achieving the aim of reducing the amount of single-use plastic carrier bags used.

“Whiet we are aware that a small business can choose to impose a charge voluntarily, we fear that many retailers that are supportive of the scheme will not participate because of the uncertainty about possibly losing out to their local competitors if they do.

“A universal rule removes uncertainty for all and maximises the environmental benefits.”

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.