'Success' of carrier bag charge, one year since it was introduced

The other UK nations may be following Wales' lead and introducing a charge on single-use carrier bags Credit: Benjamin Wright / PA Archive

It's a year to the day since a 5p charge for single-use carrier bags was introduced in Wales. The Welsh Government has heralded the scheme as a success, and points to research which shows carrier bag use here has decreased by up to 96% in some retail sectors.

Wales was the first nation in the UK to introduce a compulsory carrier bag charge. Northern Ireland is introducing a similar scheme next April, while there is a consultation on proposals in Scotland. It's thought England could also follow suit.

Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths has said he thinks there's no reason why the charge wouldn't work just as well in other parts of the UK.

Figures released in July suggested the charge was proving very effective. Cardiff University research found 70% of people support it, while figures provided by the British Retail Consortium and a sample of retailers showed reductions in single-use bags of between 45% and 96% between different retail sectors.

The Welsh Government has asked retailers to pass on proceeds from the charge, meaning more money for charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Tesco in Wales has raised £770,000 over the year, which it has donated to RSPB Cymru.

The Co-Operative has pledged £75,000 to the Vincent Wildlife Trust to support a three-year project to protect Pine Martens, a species living in south west Wales and Snowdonia. A further £160,000 will be distributed to environmental groups across Wales in the next few months, as members vote for projects they'd like to see supported in their area.