Poots announces new consultation on carrier bag levy

Date published: 01 June 2021

Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has today launched a consultation on the NI Carrier Bag Levy.


The Minister said: “Whilst the existing Carrier Bag Levy has been successful in already removing in excess of 1.5 billion bags from circulation I am aware heavy duty bags are now flooding the market, and are not being reused with harmful environmental consequences. We can and must do more. To tackle as such we are intending to review, simplify and future proof our existing carrier bag legislation.”

Minister Poots added: “My Department continues to work hard on the issue of the circular economy and has shown resolve seeking to eliminate plastic pollution and tackle the throwaway culture. With over five trillion single use plastic bags used worldwide every year and plastic waste set to quadruple by 2050 we are encouraging our citizens to act locally but think globally.” 

“This new consultation will help meet the New Decade, New Approach commitment on eliminating plastic pollution and also underpins the Green Growth framework which I am currently developing. It is also an integral  part of the range of other plastic reduction measures my Department has initiated through participation in the UK Plastics Pact, support for consultations on both a bottle deposit return scheme and the extended producer responsibility on packaging and also the roll out of policy to help reduce plastic used in our NI government estate.”

He concluded: “We have the most comprehensive Carrier Bag Levy in the UK which applies to not only plastic bags but all bags, which has already ensured that millions of pounds worth of proceeds have been reinvested in supporting the wider NI environmental sector. I would encourage stakeholders, industry and the general public to actively participate in this consultation which will run until 27 July 2021.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Carrier Bag Levy in Northern Ireland applies to ALL bags and not just plastic bags
  2. The consultation can be accessed at: consultations.nidirect.gov.uk/daera/carrier-bag-levy-ni-consultation
  3. Annual validated statistics are available at: www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/northern-ireland-carrier-bag-levy-statistics 
  4. Carrier Bag Levy legislation is available at: www.legislation.gov.uk/nisr/2013/4/regulation/1/made and www.legislation.gov.uk/nia/2014/7/contents/enacted
  5. DAERA is part of the UK Plastics Pact initiative
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  7. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: pressoffice.group@daera-ni.gov.uk
  8. 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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