Local shops should be included in the forthcoming plastic bag charge in England in 2015, the Association of Convenience Stores has told MPs.

In its submission to the Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry into plastic bags, ACS called on the Government not to exclude small shops from charging for single-use carrier bags and giving the proceeds to good causes. It highlighted the success that the scheme is already having in Wales and the enthusiasm that retailers in England are also showing to be included in the charge.

ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan said: “Retailers in Wales are already seeing the benefit of the carrier bag levy that has been in place there since 2011. Not only have they been able to save money, but it’s also a positive way of having a greater part to play in the community.

“We have also heard from English retailers charging on a voluntary basis, who have succeeded to strengthen ties with their communities in donating proceeds from their carrier bag charge to local schools and charities. ACS is keen to show the committee’s MPs that there is a strong appetite among local shops to charge for plastic bags.

“However, we are strongly recommending that smaller businesses should be excluded from having to report their proceeds back to Government to avoid unnecessary regulatory burdens.”

The inquiry follows the Deputy Prime Minister’s announcement that a levy on single-use plastic bags will be introduced in England from autumn 2015, but that businesses with fewer than 250 employees will be excluded from the charge.