A 5p levy on single use carriers bags will be introduced in Northern Ireland in April 2013.
This will then increase to 10p in April 2014. Multi-use carrier bags will have no charge in 2013 and then the 10p levy will also apply to these in 2014.
Northern Ireland environment minister Alex Attwood said: “There is no doubt that carrier bags are a scourge on the environment. Evidence from other countries demonstrates that a bag levy is a simple and effective means to reduce substantially the negative environmental impact of carrier bag consumption. A proposed ten pence levy on single use carrier bags and lower cost reusable carrier bags can bring about significant environmental improvement.
“However, I recognise that consumers will need time to change their behaviour and adjust to bringing their own bags when they shop. I therefore propose to discount the charge to five pence in the first year, when the levy will only apply to single use carrier bags. This will ensure a phased approach to charging. I am committed to making Northern Ireland a better place to live, work and invest and this will certainly contribute to that goal.”