Charges for customers using carrier bags will be introduced from April next year.
Shoppers will initially pay 5p for a single use carrier bag, including bags made from plastic, paper or other materials.
From April 2014, if the Assembly agrees, the charge will rise to 10p per bag.
Yesterday, Environment Minister Alex Attwood announced the launch of a consultation process on the draft regulations for the bag charge.
The first consultation relates to stage one when the discounted levy of 5p for single use carrier bags is introduced from April 2013 — the closing date for comments is July 9, 2012.
Stage two of the implementation will provide consumers with an opportunity to adjust their shopping behaviour by bringing their own bags, in advance of full charging of 10p per bag in 2014.
The minister encouraged consumers and businesses to take part in the consultation process, saying that consultation documents can be found on www.doeni.gov.uk/waste, while background information on the levy is available at: www.rethinkwasteni.org/carrierbaglevy.