Attwood makes further move towards carrier bag levy

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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Environment Minister Alex Attwood today announced the launch of a consultation process on the Draft Regulations for a charge on single use carrier bags. Carrier bag charging will be introduced in two stages. In stage one a discounted levy of five pence for single use carrier bags, including bags made from plastic, paper or other materials, will be introduced from April 2013. This consultation relates specifically to the stage one legislation and the closing date for receipt of comments is 9 July 2012. From April 2014, subject to Assembly approval of the required primary legislation, the levy will be extended to lower cost reusable carrier bags. This will provide consumers with an opportunity to adjust their shopping behaviour by bringing their own bags, in advance of full charging of 10p per bag and the extension of the levy in April 2014. This represents stage two of the implementation process. Commenting on the stage one consultation the Minister said: “This new levy will be of interest to many consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland. It is important that I continue to engage with them and other interested stakeholders. I will consider carefully the outcome of the consultation exercise before taking final decisions on the content of the Regulations. I am confident that the levy can make a positive contribution towards making Northern Ireland a greener and cleaner place to live, work and invest. This can improve the quality of our lives, the quality of visitor experiences and promote employment in the environmental and tourist sectors.” The Minister added: “This consultation will shape the final form and impact of the levy. I propose exemptions from the charge on grounds such as patient confidentiality, hygiene and food safety, and the protection of goods and consumers. A full list of the proposed exemptions is included in the draft Regulations and I want to hear people’s views on these.” The Minister concluded: “I also want to ensure that interested consumers and retailers will have access to the most up to date information and guidance on the consultation process and on subsequent implementation. The consultation documents can be found on while background information on the levy is available at: Both websites will be updated regularly.”
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