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David Cameron tells campaigning children and an albatross called Stanley that he knows carrier bag charging works

4 September 2013

Children campaigning to Break the Bag Habit meet the PM Children campaigning to Break the Bag Habit meet the PM © EcoTales


A four metre wide albatross made from recycled bottles and children from Stanley Primary School in Teddington met with David Cameron at Downing Street today to tell him about the dangers of plastic pollution and to urge him to introduce a charge on single use carrier bags in England.


Standing on the steps of No.10, the Ecotales group read their poem ‘Dear Albatross’ and gave the Prime Minister a letter from Greener upon Thames detailing the Government’s own figures on carrier bag usage, which 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.

Two years ago, the Prime Minister said that any increase in usage was ‘unacceptable’ and that if the number of bags given out in England didn’t decrease he would consider other options, such as introducing a charge. Now, England remains the only home nation not to have taken 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.

David Cameron told the group that he knew how successful the scheme was in Wales and that they had come at the right time, as he was just discussing a similar scheme for England – something which CPRE is calling for as part of the Break the Bag Habit campaign.

Ruby, 9, from Teddington, said:

‘We came here to pass on a message about plastic pollution. 'Wales, Ireland and Scotland have a bag charge so I don't quite see why we can't. It didn’t feel real meeting David Cameron. I got to do something that hardly anybody gets to do.’

Zac Goldmsith MP, who attended the event, said:

‘The PM has spoken in the past about the need to take action, and it was reassuring to hear not only that he was discussing the issue today in Number 10, but that he has noted the successful bag charge in Wales. I know many people are looking forward to the next step here in England.’


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