Environment Minister Alex Attwood announced the levy yesterday (January 30), which is subject to approval by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Attwood said the lower charge in the first year would enable consumers to adjust to the concept, and added that there would be no charge placed on multi use carrier bags in April 2013 as the 10p levy won’t apply to these bags until April 2014.

In announcing the plans, Attwood said: “Evidence from other countries demonstrates that a bag levy is a simple and effective means to reduce substantially the negative environmental impact of carrier bag consumption.

“However I recognise that consumers will need time to change their behaviour and adjust to bringing their own bags when they shop. I therefore propose to discount the charge to five pence in the first year, when the levy will only apply to single use carrier bags.”

Administration of the scheme will be based in Derry, reflecting the minister’s commitment to job dispersal in the draft Programme for Government.

Maxine Perella

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