Alliance Sustainability Spokesperson Cllr Alan Lawther has hailed news that Marks and Spencer will start charging for plastic bags and stated that Alliance has been campaigning for the introduction of a bag levy for a number of years. He said that this move must be the first step along the road to government placing a levy on all plastic bags from shops.
The Antrim Councillor said: “This is a real victory for our campaign. This is a step in the right direction and hopefully the Environment Minister will take note and act to place a levy on all plastic bags from every shop in Northern Ireland.
“We must be radical to protect the environment. A plastic bag levy would ensure that less bags were produced, therefore cutting down on emissions created during their production.
“The levy would help stop plastic bag littering, as far fewer would be disposed of after their use. The proceeds of any levy could be used to fund environmental projects, therefore providing a double boost in the area of environmental protection.
“After a levy was introduced in the Republic of Ireland, it cut plastic bag usage by 90% and helped provide over £93 million for environmental schemes. These figures illustrate that the implementation of such legislation in Northern Ireland would have a very positive impact on the environment.”
Castlereagh Alliance Councillor Sara Duncan said: “I would like to strongly welcome the fact that Marks and Spencer are holding a pilot project on charging for plastic bags. They plan to give people their ‘bag for life’ for a month, then people will have pay for plastic bags at the start of July.
“Alliance has been campaigning for a government levy for years and this shows that our pressure is having a real impact on local stores.”