Where NI leads, England follows…..well in plastic bags anyway.

The BBC is reporting, that the Deputy PM, Nick Clegg is set to announce at the Lib Dem conference that the government plans to introduce a 5p plastic bag levy to begin after the next election.

We have had the same charge since April of this year which has achieved a remarkable 80 per cent reduction in the number of plastic bags that are used in Northern Ireland.

However the levy that is set to be implemented in England will be weaker than ours as only supermarkets will have to charge customers. The revenue from the bag levy will go to charity which does not happen here.

The situation in the rest of the UK

Wales has had a levy since 2011.

Scotland will introduce their levy in 2014.

Outside of the UK, the Irish Republic has had a plastic bag levy since 2002.

I know since it was introduced it has definitely made me think about how many plastic bags I use, but I do know others who still don’t reuse their plastic bags.

Has the bag tax made you think more about this issue or is it just another money grab by politicians?


  • Shibboleth

    Not quite sure how you could say NI leads as it followed others too. The article disagrees with the heading.

  • David McCann

    The headline is just a bit of fun and I used it because I seen on SKY news a govt source citing the success of this here as a reason for doing it

  • Charles_Gould

    David McCann

    Do you think it’s better to limit this to large supermarkets. In NI it affects the local butcher – it is now criminal for the butcher to put meat in a free bag for their customers.

  • David McCann

    Well I think the point of the level is to encourage you to bring your own bag.

    I think with supermarkets you could perhaps have a levy of 10p while small shops could be at 5p.

  • FDM

    I think they bagged that policy and took it away.

    I’ll get me coat…

  • Charles_Gould

    David McCann

    Would you argue that the SDLP deserve credit, as this was introduced by a SDLP minister. I note you have not credited the SDLP with this innovation.

  • The regulations [pdf file] also apply to bags made from materials other than plastic and there are numerous exemptions.

    The charge will apply to all single use carrier bags. A single use carrier bag is a bag intended to be used to carry goods on a single occasion even though, in practice, some of these bags may be re-used. The term is not restricted to plastic bags – it also applies to bags made from paper, plant-based material or natural starch.

    Exemptions include:

    Bags of a certain size used solely to contain packaged uncooked meat, poultry or fish

    No mention of the butcher’s apron although I understand it can only be worn on certain days and if it is at least 49 microns thick.

  • Charles_Gould

    David McCann

    What do you think of Sammy Wilson’s “TESCO TAX”. This increased rates on retail sites over 30,000 sq ft, affecting the likes of Tesco, ASDA, B&Q, Ikea but not the local town-centre outlet.

  • David McCann


    No slight intented happy, to acknowledge Alex Attwood as minister bringing this in.

  • FuturePhysicist

    As an SDLP one myself, I won’t deny it was a collective effort. Certainly this move is catching on on both a European and North American level.

  • jagmaster

    There’s childish fun to be had with it. As an example doing a weekly shop in Tesco and putting the items in old Sainsburys bags and vice versa.

    I was initially angry with it but I’ll concede that plastic bag usage was getting out of hand. The smallest of items being placed in them without a second thought along with the ubiquitous “do you wanna wee bag?”