Government must listen to inquiry findings if bag charges in England to work

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 5 February 2014

Government must listen to inquiry findings if bag charges in England to work MCS backs recommendations to make scheme as simple as possible MCS says it is delighted at the conclusions of the Environmental Audit Committee’s (EAC) inquiry into the plastic bag charge in England.

Government must listen to inquiry findings if bag charges in England to work MCS backs recommendations to make scheme as simple as possible MCS says it is delighted at the conclusions of the Environmental Audit Committee’s (EAC) inquiry into the plastic bag charge in England. The EAC said for the scheme to work it must be kept simple - something MCS and it’s Break the Bag Habit Coaliton partners have long been calling for. “The current Defra proposal to exempt small businesses and paper and biodegradable bags are ludicrous and will not achieve the reduction in bag usage and litter required or a change in behavior. We completely agree with the findings that the scheme should be as simple as possible and follow the extremely successful Welsh model,” said Dr Sue Kinsey, MCS Senior Polution Policy Officer. Speaking about the proposed 5p carrier bag charge, the Chair of the Committee, Joan Walley MP, said: “Ministers have managed to make a complete mess of their planned carrier bags charge by making it unnecessarily complicated. Carrier bags litter our streets and harm wildlife, and the Government is right to want to reduce their use. But Defra seems to have made decisions about the design of this scheme that were based more on wishful thinking than hard evidence. Ø The committee agreed with the Break the Bag Habit group, which includes MCS, saying that exemptions for small retailers and paper and biodegradable bags make it confusing for consumers, potentially harmful for the recycling industry, and less effective than the Welsh scheme, where bag use has been reduced by over 75% with a straightforward 5p charge on all disposable carrier bags. Dr Sue Kinsey says she’s extremely pleased that the comments made by ourselves and all the stakeholders who contributed to the EAC inquiry have been listened to. “We hope that Defra will take note of the findings and amend their proposals to fall in line with the expert advice given to the Committee and follow the scheme as it is used in Wales.”

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