"The Government is committed to reducing significantly the wasteful distribution of single-use carrier bags, and has already taken decisive action.
The Government now has powers, introduced through the Climate Change Act, to require retailers to charge for the carrier bags they distribute, but our preference has always been for a voluntary approach to reducing bag use. This was behind the Government’s decision to sign up to an agreement in December 2008 with Britain’s leading supermarkets represented by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). This committed to a 50 per cent cut in the number of carrier bags given out by spring 2009, working towards an eventual reduction of 70% in numbers of bags distributed. This is a positive development and is exactly the reduction in bag distribution we have been seeking, and is a similar reduction to what we estimate could be achieved through legislation. The enabling powers in the Climate Change Act have motivated retailers who have responded well to these challenging targets. The Government is confident that, with the continued help of their customers, retailers will deliver significant reductions in the numbers of bags they give out.
Progress on the agreement will be monitored by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). We will review to see if the 50 per cent target has been achieved this spring, and again in 2010, to assess further progress. Whilst regulation remains as a fallback, to be used if the voluntary action was not sufficient, we feel that it would be inappropriate to regulate just now when retailers are offering to do so much on a voluntary basis."
I will be interested to know if the 50% drop has come as expected, and your views on whether this is the right approach.
I do feel that even if we campaign very hard locally, eventually government and other social forces will be the effector of real change. This doesnt mean I dont think its worth doing - it helps smooth the way for the bigger players and it also means we can in the future take the lead on other green issues locally.
Does anyone know whether Richmond is signed up to the Sustainable Communities Act? I think it is but its nowhere to be found on their website.