DIY store levies bag 'tax'

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Shoppers are to be charged extra for using plastic bags for the first time in the UK in a pilot scheme designed to protect the environment by discouraging consumers from using them.

Shoppers are to be charged extra for using plastic bags for the first time in the UK in a pilot scheme designed to protect the environment by discouraging consumers from using them.

From today, B&Q, the home improvement retailer, will charge customers in its 33 Scottish stores a 5p levy on carrier bags. Proceeds will go to an environmental charity.

Britons use more than eight billion bags a year, which, when disposed of in landfill sites, can take up to a million years to decompose completely. The Government has ruled out an official tax on thebags.

"Plastic causes enormous death and injury to birds, marine mammals and other forms of wildlife," said a spokesman for B&Q.

There was a 90 per cent fall in the number of bags issued by shops in Ireland when a tax was introduced two years ago.

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