Kirklees Council Leader backs a 5p charge for bags

The leader of Kirklees Council has thrown his weight behind a Government plan to introduce a 5p charge for plastic bags.

Councillor Mehboob Khan (above), who also sits on the board of the Local Government Association which represents local councils, said the association supported the idea of forcing larger retailers to charge for carrier bags.

He said carrier bags generated 60,000 tonnes of waste a year, which had to be removed in most cases by local councils.

Coun Khan said charging shoppers a few pence per bag could make a huge difference to the environment, and called for the money raised to be ploughed back into local environmental schemes.

Coun Khan said: “Free carrier bags are not really free. While they carry no cost for the shopper, there is an environmental cost, and if they are not properly disposed of they can cause serious damage to wildlife and take many years to degrade.

“This plan is partly behaviour change – it is preferable for shoppers to use reusable bags – but also a plea for the small amount of money which would be collected to be kept in the area.

“I know that the several environmental charities support this plan, and I hope that it will gather local support.

“I would like to see display boards in supermarkets showing how much money has been earned and which environmental improvements it has funded.”

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