Belfast Telegraph

Consumers give green light to plastic bag tax

By Clare Weir

An independent survey on the introduction of a levy on carrier bags has found broad approval of the scheme, it was claimed.

Market research company Millward Brown Ulster polled 200 businesses and over 1,000 adults on behalf of the Department of the Environment.

When asked about possible drawbacks from the proposal, 42% of businesses identified additional charges for their customers during a period of recession, while 46% of consumers expressed concern at the prospect of having to buy bags.

However, overall the survey suggested "substantial support" for the move, with many firms and 66% of consumers saying they would welcome a levy.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood said he would take all concerns on board and added that businesses could actually save money in the long run.

"I am especially encouraged by the fact that so many respondents recognised the very positive impact it would have on the environment," he said.

"I want to ensure that the levy will not only improve our environment but also bring about benefits for both businesses and consumers.

"Businesses can make real savings through reduced purchase of bags. Consumers can avoid the charge by bringing their own bags when shopping."