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Supermarkets warned to stop using plastic bags

Welsh Assembly Environment Minister Jane Davidson has used new legislation to pave the way to look at legally banning free plastic bags in Wales and has warned retailers to stop using them.

Davidson said: I have been concerned about the impact of free plastic carrier bags for some time and support strong action to encourage retailers to stop using them. I am using new legislation to look at how we can legally ban free plastic bags in Wales.

The Environment Minister has proposed a draft Legislative Competence Order (LCO) on Environmental Protection and Waste Management before the Welsh Assembly to have new law making powers in Wales to take this forward. A Welsh Assembly spokesman said that a Welsh Assembly sustainability committee member did call for a 20 pence levy on plastic bags. But he said:  We do not have tax raising powers to charge for bags. Only the UK Government has tax raising powers.

Davidson added: Wherever carrier bags end up after they are discarded they cause misery and harm. I have repeatedly stated that I wanted to see them banned.
It is time supermarkets took responsibility for their environmental impact.

Bags are used for a matter of minutes to carry our shopping and then sit for thousands of years in landfill sites, or blight our landscape, or cause harm to wildlife.

Former Environment Minister Joan Ruddock said that if retailers did not substantially reduce their plastic bag use by the end of the year then the Government would use the Climate Change Bill to create legislation to allow it to impose a charge on carrier bags from 2009.

Image: Plastic bags

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