1. ITV Report

5p charge on single-use plastic bags to be extended to corner shops and smaller retailers

The environment secretary says plastic bag use is down 90% since the levy was introduced in 2015 Credit: PA

The 5p charge on plastic bags is set to be enforced in corner shops and other small retailers, as the government extends its plans to tackle "throwaway culture".

Retailers with fewer than 250 employees are currently exempted from the charge in England, which was introduced in 2015.

Theresa May and environment secretary Michael Gove will set out plans to expand the charge in a 25-year Environment Plan being published later this week.

The plan will be unveiled on Thursday and Whitehall sources confirmed that a consultation on extending the plastic bag charge will form part of it.

One option on the table would be for the charge to be extended on a voluntary basis, the source said.

Michael Gove told colleagues the introduction of the 5p charge on single-use plastic bags had contributed to a reduction of nearly 90% in their use, in a clear demonstration of what can be achieved by targeted official action.

Credit: PA

He said the Government was "determined to tackle the throwaway culture which plastics encapsulate" and its plan would set out details of how to reduce demand for them.

The prime minister told Cabinet the Government had "a clear belief in conserving what is good and standing up against the profligate use of resources, whether that is public money or natural resources", said her official spokesman.

Mrs May unveiled plans last weekend to plant 50 million trees in a "Northern Forest" stretching along the M62 corridor between Liverpool and Hull over the coming 25 years, to boost habitat for wildlife including birds and bats, protect species such as the red squirrel and provide more access to woodlands for millions of people living in the area.