The government’s decision to extend the 5p charge on single use plastic carrier bags to all retailers in England has been welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores.

The move was part of a long-term plan to protect the environment announced by the Prime Minister, including measures to reduce plastic packaging.

In the announcement, the government stated that it wanted “to extend the scheme so that small retailers also charge for bags. We’ll first be looking at voluntary agreements with the industry to achieve this, before we consider making this compulsory.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman commented: “The commitment to consulting on a coherent strategy, including cutting plastic waste is the right approach for delivering lasting benefits.

“We support regulatory action to extend the plastic bag levy to small retailers. A consistent approach to plastic bag charging in England will give all retailers the chance to raise money for good causes and contribute to the positive environmental impact of reducing the number of carrier bags in circulation.

“We will be responding to the Government’s consultation on what role the tax system can play in reducing single use plastics and will engage in the debate about reform of packaging waste regulation.”

ACS polling shows that 42% of convenience retailers are already voluntarily charging for plastic bags.