Many businesses, 66% of consumers in Northern Ireland would support plastic carrier bag levy, according to survey by Environment Dept.

BELFAST, U.K. , December 8, 2011 (press release) – An independent survey carried out on behalf of DOE suggests substantial support for the introduction of a levy on carrier bags.

Local market research company, Millward Brown Ulster, polled 200 businesses and over 1,000 adults. In response, many businesses and 66% of consumers said they would welcome such a levy.

Confirming the findings today, Environment Minister Alex Attwood said: “The survey results suggest significant support for a carrier bag levy. I am especially encouraged by the fact that so many respondents recognised the very positive impact it would have on the environment."

When asked about possible drawbacks from the proposal, 42% of businesses identified additional charges for their customers during a period of recession - while 46% of consumers expressed concern at the prospect of having to buy bags.

Commenting on this, Minister Attwood said: “While there is an extremely positive message emerging from this survey, I am also very aware of these concerns.

“I want to ensure that the levy will not only improve our environment, but also bring about benefits for both businesses and consumers. Businesses can make real savings through reduced purchase of bags.

Consumers can avoid the charge by bringing their own bags when shopping, many have already adopted this practice.”

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