Northern Ireland news

Shoppers in Northern Ireland could see 5p carrier bag charge doubled by next year

Shoppers in Northern Ireland could see the 5p plastic bag charge double next year. Picture by Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

SHOPPERS in Northern Ireland could see the 5p plastic bag charge double next year.

Stormont Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen said the carrier bag levy is to be reviewed by next April and could be increased to 10p.

It is one of a number of options to be considered by officials, who will also examine scrapping the fee.

According to official figures released last August, there are 199 million fewer carrier bags in circulation than when the levy was introduced in Northern Ireland in 2013.

Ms McIlveen told MLAs during Question Time at the Assembly: "We have committed to deliver a statutory review of the carrier bag levy by April 2017.

"They will be looking at three options, maintain existing arrangements, discontinue the existing levy and remove the 5p charge, and finally, increase the levy to 10p for all bags with the threshold extended to 40p."

She added: "It has had an impact right across Northern Ireland."

Money generated from the introduction of the carrier bad levy has been used to fund a range of environmental improvement projects, including £1.8 million to the Natural Heritage Fund and £400,000 towards tackling illegal dumping.

Another £500,000 has also went towards urban clean-up programmes.

Among the organisations to benefit were The Mornington Community Project which received £8,000, the Greater Village Regeneration Trust which got £7,454, and Windsor Women's Centre which received £7,998.

The forthcoming review in Northern Ireland will cost £23,452.

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