A year ago, CPRE joined forces with Keep Britain Tidy, the Marine Conservation Society and Surfers Against Sewage to call for a charge on single-use bags in England, following the success of such levies in Wales and Ireland. We have now heard that the Government has accepted our arguments that a bag charge will help reduce litter in our countryside and towns while protecting the environment from plastic pollution. We sincerely thank the thousands of people who have taken part in our campaign actions - writing letters and signing petitions calling for this moment.
CPRE's Samantha Harding, said:
‘We are delighted that the Government has finally listened to the Break the Bag Habit campaign and its thousands of supporters who have called for action to stem the increasing tide of single-use carrier bags. With this new commitment, we can only hope that England will follow the good news in Wales and no longer have its parks, streets, countryside and waterways polluted by littered carrier bags.’
The Government’s own figures on carrier bag usage confirmed an increase of 12.2% in England between 2010 and 2012 - an increase of over 750 million bags to more than 7 billion per year - whilst in Wales, which has had a charging scheme in place since October 2011, there was an 80% decrease in usage.
England now joins the other home nations in taking decisive action to reduce the waste, pollution and blight of single-use bags, with Northern Ireland introducing a scheme in April 2013 and Scotland confirming it will introduce a charge in October 2014.