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Over 100 million carrier bags dispensed in 2015/16

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Northern Ireland carrier bag levy annual statistics for 2015/16 have been published today by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

This statistical report is updated annually and the published statistics relate to the carrier bag levy that commenced on 8 April 2013. The figures relate to the number of bags dispensed by retailers in Northern Ireland between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016 as notified to the Department by 30 June 2016. It is available at: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/carrier-bag-levy-annual-statistics

The key points are:

  • During the third year of operation, 101.2 million carrier bags were dispensed by retailers under the carrier bag levy in Northern Ireland.
  • This was 10.6% higher than the previous year, as 9.7 million more bags were dispensed. It is important to note that a change was made to the Regulations during the last quarter of 2014/15 and came into operation on 19 January 2015. This meant more bags fell within the scope of the Regulations and consequently additional bag usage being reported throughout 2015/16 than during the first three quarters of 2014/15. This contributed to the greater number of carrier bags dispensed.
  • The number of carrier bags dispensed in 2015/16 is still markedly lower than the baseline figure prior to the introduction of the levy, which was estimated at 300 million bags in 2012. Year three of the 5p levy saw a reduction in bag numbers of 66.3% compared to the baseline figure which meant approximately 198.8 million fewer bags in circulation.
  • The proceeds of the levy for 2015/16 totalled £5.2million, an increase of £0.5million (10.8%) from the previous year. Proceeds are taken from audited Departmental financial accounts and are not Official Statistics. They cannot be calculated from bag usage figures due to differences in timing and recording.

The figures are based on data supplied by 2,963 retailers in Northern Ireland as notified to the Department by 30 June 2016. Note that this is not the number of actual premises at which carrier bags are dispensed, as one retailer can submit returns for more than one outlet.

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