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UUP challenged to raise its game on green issues

8 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson, North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan has challenged UUP environment spokesperson Samuel Gardiner to raise the bar on environmental issues.

Mr McGuigan said:

"Sinn Féin have been leading the demand for some time now for the introduction of a plastic bag tax similar to that in operation in the rest of Ireland. Time and time again we have told direct rule ministers to stop making excuses and get on with introducing a plastic bag tax in the north.

"The evidence from the success of the introduction of the plastic bag tax in the south is very strong. Use of plastic bags has been significantly reduced and considerable revenue has been raised.

"British direct rule minister are constantly looking at ways to increase local revenue through the imposition of water taxes and inflation busting rates increases. Neither of which are justifiable. Yet when they are presented with an alternative that is a proven success all we get is excuses that don't stand up to scrutiny.

"Introducing this would also send out a clear signal that we are serious about the environment.

"While arguing about supermarkets becoming more environmentally responsible is a small step forward. The evidence is there to move us on much further. We need to see this tax in place that is an up front disincentive to plastic bag use and also can act to bring in revenue that could, for example, be ring fenced to support other environmental measures such as the promotion and development of the market for recycled goods." ENDS

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