Five pence is very little to pay for carrier bags

At long last the government has decided to take action to reduce he profligate use carrier bags which are freely distributed by the billion every year, by making supermarkets and large stores levy a 5p charge for each one a customer takes.

Considering the wealth of evidence showing the serious damage caused to wildlife in particular and the environment in general by carelessly discarded carrier bags, not to mention the awful eyesores they create in our streets and countryside, this initiative has been a long time in coming.

In both Wales and Northern Ireland where this charge already applies huge success has been achieved in vastly reducing the number of these plastic bags which can take millennia to degrade.

Why then has it taken so long for the idea to be proposed in England? No new legislation is required to impose the levy here because powers already exist in the Climate Change Act of 2008.

I find it disappointing therefore, that the scheme will not be implemented until 2015, by which time billions more carrier bags will have gone to land-fill or have wreaked havoc in some other way with our environment.

Some objectors demur, fearing that this levy will be a further burden to families already hard pressed financially, but shoppers can either re-use existing plastic bags or purchase a hemp bag or one made of similar durable material to avoid or minimise this cost.

For those who of necessity have to avail themselves of a plastic carrier bag, the charge of 5p, which in any case will go to charity, seems to me to be very little to pay to protect our precious environment and the life it sustains.

ROBERT COWAN, Mead Road.