Corner shops to charge customers 5p for using plastic bags

Some corner shop have recommended retailers introduce the charge

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The Independent Online

Corner shops across England are reportedly going to charge customers for using plastic bags.

Trade magazine The Grocer said it believed Spar, Londis, Budgens, Landmark Costcutter and One Stop would be encouraging their independent retailers to introduce the charge from next week.

The government’s 5p charge, which comes into effect from 5 October, does not include retailers which employ fewer than 250 staff because it would be too costly.

However, earlier this month, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) said around 16 per cent of England’s village stores, newsagents and cornershops planned to introduce the charge regardless of the exemption.

James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS, said in a statement: "We believe that the best option for England is to introduce a universal carrier bag charge that requires all stores to charge for bags, as is already the case in Wales and Scotland but unfortunately, the Government have excluded small businesses from the legislation creating confusion for both retailers and consumers." 

"Charging for carrier bags is a great way to raise money for local charities and help the environment and we encourage retailers to introduce their own voluntary charging schemes in stores wherever it is practical to do so," said Mr Lowman.

A spokesperson for Londis said: "We provide an in store [Point of Sale] kit for those independent Londis retailers who want to introduce a bag charge as a way of raising and donating monies for a local charity or good cause within their local community. Such a local initiative is entirely at the retailers discretion."

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman said earlier the new charge would help improve the environment and help stem littering.

“We want to avoid imposing burdens on start-up and growing businesses in England at a time when the Government is supporting economic growth, but where possible we encourage small businesses to take voluntary action to reduce the distribution of plastic bags.”

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland already charge for plastic bags.