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Plastic bags use continues to drop after 5p levy

Published 27/08/2015

The 5p levy was introduced in April 2013
The 5p levy was introduced in April 2013

The use of plastic bags in Northern Ireland has continued to fall since the introduction of a five pence levy.

The Department of the Environment (DoE) has reported a 70% drop with retailers handing out 208.5 million fewer single use carrier bags during 2014/15 than two years ago.

A levy, introduced in April 2013, has generated £4.6 million.

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said the revenue had been used to help 150 community projects.

He said: "The response from shoppers again has been very positive and retailers continue to rise to the challenge. I commend them for that.

"The levy has also enabled me to fund 21 environmental NGOs and landscape management bodies through the Natural Environment Fund. Given the acute economic situation that I faced, there would have been no money in the DoE budget for this sector."

The Woodland Trust used money from the plastic bag levy to finance its Brackfield Wood project - a 40,000-tree commemorative wood in memory of Irish people killed during the two World Wars.

Mr Durkan added: "People pay the levy and I will continue to ensure that people get the benefit of the levy."

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