NIIRTA & NIRC call for radical change to carrier bag levy

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Friday, September 27th, 2013
Retail organisations representing large and small traders have jointly called for Stage Two of the Carrier Bag Levy to be dropped and for the DOE Minister to consult with their members on what environmental projects will be funded from the levy. The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) and the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) both made the call in a presentation to the Assembly Environment Committee yesterday morning. In a joint statement NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts and NIRC Director Aodhan Connolly said, “Both our organisations welcome the reduction in Carrier Bag usage since the levy was introduced and are pleased that Minister Mark H. Durkan has listened to our concerns and capped it at 5p. “However, we believe a number of changes are needed. In our evidence to the Committee we recommended that the DOE does not proceed with Stage 2 of the levy which includes a levy on renewable bags as such an extension will undermine the environmental objectives of the levy. “We are also concerned about reports from our members that basket sales and impulse buying have been reduced following the introduction of the levy. The statement added, “Since our members have worked hard to administer and collect this levy and given that retailers in other parts of the UK have a big say in how it is spent, we would call upon Minister Durkan to consult local retailers. Ideally we would prefer that the proceeds of the levy are used to fund sustainable town centre regeneration projects.”
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