Northern Ireland consults on carrier bag levy


Northern Ireland has launched a consultation on their Carrier Bag Levy, which applies to all bags.

The current legislation was introduced in 2013 and is reported to have been effective in reducing the use of carrier bags across Northern Ireland by 73.2%, when compared to the baseline figure of 300 million bags in 2012.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, ongoing market scanning, coupled with published DAERA-validated statistics, clearly show ‘a significant increase’ in the purchase of thicker, heavier carrier bags.

This level is reported to suggest that these heavier carrier bags are now the new ‘throw away’ bag that are not being reused as originally intended.

Launching the consultation, Environment Minister Edwin Poots commented: “Whilst the existing Carrier Bag Levy has been successful in already removing in excess of 1.5 billion bags from circulation, I am aware heavy duty bags are now flooding the market, and are not being reused with harmful environmental consequences. We can and must do more.

“To tackle as such we are intending to review, simplify and future proof our existing carrier bag legislation.

“This new consultation will help meet the New Decade, New Approach commitment on eliminating plastic pollution and also underpins the Green Growth framework which I am currently developing.

“It is also an integral part of the range of other plastic reduction measures my Department has initiated through participation in the UK Plastics Pact, support for consultations on both a bottle deposit return scheme and the extended producer responsibility on packaging and also the roll out of policy to help reduce plastic used in our NI government estate.”

This consultation will run until 27th of July 2021.

More information about this consultation and how to take part is available on the NI Direct website.