Smaller retailers to be exempt from plastic bag charge paperwork

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A plastic Union Flag bag is carried by a shopper on December 27, 2018 in London, England.
Jack Taylor/Getty Images/File Photo

The government has confirmed that smaller retailers will not have to keep detailed records of sales when the plastic carriage bag charge is extended to all stores at the end of April.

In a communication to the Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) on 3 March, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the government had no plans to extend the reporting requirements of larger stores to those with fewer than 50 employees.

“We have always pressed Defra to ensure that the new regulations do not impact negatively on our membership by burdening them with unnecessary and time-consuming paperwork. We are pleased that Defra has taken on board our members’ concerns and is acting on them,” Stuart Reddish, NFRN national president, said.

The government has in September last year announced the extension of the single-use plastic carrier bag charge to include all retailers in England. The minimum charge has been increased to 10p, with the measures taking effect from 30 April 2021, subject to parliament’s approval.

The current 5p charge applies to retailers employing over 250 people.

“The carrier bag charge has made a huge difference by drastically cutting the use of single-use plastic bags so we are delighted that smaller retailers can now play an even greater part in reducing waste and raising money for local charities,” Reddish added.

NFRN said they will be producing guidance and point of sale materials for retailers ahead of 30 April.