Northern Ireland Carrier Bag Levy Annual Statistics 2022/23 released

Date published: 17 August 2023

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has published the Northern Ireland carrier bag levy annual statistics for 2022/23.

DARD report

This statistical report is updated annually and the published statistics relate to the carrier bag levy that commenced on 8 April 2013. The figures relate to the number of bags dispensed by retailers in Northern Ireland between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023 as notified to the Department by 30 June 2023. 

The key points are:

  • From 1 April 2022, the Carrier Bags Charge Regulations were extended so that the levy is 25 pence and applies to all new carrier bags with a retail price of five pounds or less.
  • During the tenth year of operation, 65.0 million carrier bags were dispensed by retailers under the carrier bag levy in Northern Ireland.
  • The number of lower rate bags dispensed in 2022/23 (costing only the 25 pence) was 28.7 million while the number of upper rate bags dispensed (those costing more than the 25 pence levy and up to five pounds) was 36.2 million.
  • In 2022/23, 44% of the bags dispensed were lower rate compared to 56% of higher rate bags.
  • The proceeds of the levy for 2022/23 totalled £14.4 million.

Download the report


Notes to editors: 

1. This is the tenth year of the carrier bag levy in Northern Ireland. These are the final official statistics for 2022/23. The statistics refer to all bags made of any material, not solely plastic bags. The Department intends to publish 2023/24 figures in August 2024. Reports from previous years can be accessed from the DAERA website.

2. Bags which are exempt from the levy, such as those used solely to contain unpackaged raw food or hot foods / hot drinks, are not included in the data. Retailers are not required to record this information. The main exemptions are listed on carrier bag levy section of nidirect and the full list is available from Schedule 1 of the Regulations.

3. The figures are based on data supplied by 2,300 retailers in Northern Ireland as notified to the Department by 30 June 2023. Note that this is not the number of actual premises at which carrier bags are dispensed, as one retailer can submit returns for more than one outlet.

4. The figures presented in the release will not equate precisely to the total bags dispensed in the year due to the 30 June cut-off date applied for the production of Official Statistics. Using recent declaration figures for comparison, it is estimated that the number of bags notified by 30 June is on average 3 per cent lower than the actual total number of bags dispensed in that year.

5. These figures have undergone audit by Carrier Bag Levy Team, which has responsibility for administration and collection of the levy and ensuring that sellers comply with the Regulations. Guidance on carrier bag levy enforcement is available from the DAERA website.

6. These statistics are released according to the Statement of Compliance with the Pre-release access to Official Statistics Order (NI) 2009. Official Statistics are produced to a high professional standard. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

7. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook.

8. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: or phone 02890 524619.

9. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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