The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed comments from prime minister Theresa May indicating the government plans to extend compulsory plastic bag charging to small stores.
Under the current regulations, a 5p charge is levied on all single use plastic bags by businesses that have more than 250 employees in England. However, all businesses in Wales and Scotland are required to charge.
In response to the government’s comments about the future of the plastic bag policy, ACS has also urged careful consultation on any increases to the amount levied on each single use bag.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We have long campaigned for compulsory plastic bag charging to be extended to all businesses just as it is in Wales and Scotland. Around half of independent convenience stores in England have voluntarily introduced plastic bag charging, using the funds raised from the charge to support local and environmental causes. Furthermore, most of the independent retailers that do not currently charge for plastic bags support the introduction of a universal charge.
“The level of the charge should balance discouraging the use of single use plastic bags while avoiding unreasonable costs for consumers who may forget reusable bags or make unplanned shopping trips. We will work with the government to help make any extension of plastic bag charging effective and workable.”