Meacher supports plastic bag tax

Environment Minister Michael Meacher has declared that he is in favour of a new tax on plastic carrier bags, following the success of a scheme in Ireland.

In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Meacher stated that the 9p tax per bag in Ireland is dramatically cutting the use of plastic shopping bags. People are reusing old bags, and there are new biodegradable bags coming onto the market.

In the UK, we use eight billion plastic bags each year, which works out at 134 bags per person. The Minister has called for a report on the Irish experience within three months, and if no serious problems are found, he will be arguing strongly for introducing a similar scheme in the UK.

“Obviously you have to talk about it with government, get agreement – it will require legislation, all the rest, but I think it’s a cracking good idea,” he said in the interview.

The Minister also outlined his idea for environment wardens who would be employed by local authorities to stop littering, dog-fouling and graffiti, with the powers to take names and addresses and impose fines.

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