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We need more than awareness raising on Plastic Bags – we need new initiative on bag tax

21 June, 2007

Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson, North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay has said that while films to raise awareness about alternatives to plastic carrier bags are important that the Minister of Environment needs to move forward on the issue of a levy of plastic bags similar to the one that has proved so successful in the south.

Mr McKay said:

"While it is positive that the Minister and indeed retailers recognise that they have a responsibility to reduce the overall environmental impact of plastic bags the fact is that both are missing the opportunity to go much further.

"Sinn Féin has long campaigned for the introduction of a plastic bag levy similar to the one in use in the 26 counties. The levy in the south has been a huge success in both reducing plastic bag use and generating revenues.

"Sinn Féin wants to see the local Assembly given tax varying powers and revenues generated by a plastic bag levy could be ring-fenced and used fund much needed environmental schemes.

"While supermarkets becoming more environmentally responsible or promoting awareness represents a small step forward, the evidence is that we need to do much more. A plastic bag tax would act as an up front disincentive to plastic bag use and could also 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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