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I thank the Member for his question. As he will be aware, we have committed to delivering a statutory review of the carrier bag levy by April 2017. It will be conducted on behalf of my Department by business consultancy service, which is a division of the Department of Finance. The terms of reference of that review will be to look at three options: maintain the existing arrangements; discontinue the existing levy and remove the 5p charge; and, finally, increase the levy to 10 pence for all bags with a threshold extended to 40 pence. The Member also asked the cost of the review. It is costing £29,948, which in itself is not insignificant.
I thank the Member for his question. Obviously, it has had an impact across Northern Ireland. In previous years, a challenge fund was run by the former Department of the Environment, and this was really to look at enabling schools and community groups to support and deliver small-scale projects to improve the local environment and to provide environmental education. A number of groups have benefited from the fund in the past. The Mornington Community Project received £8,000 spend. The Greater Village Regeneration Trust received £7,454, and Windsor Women's Centre received £7,998. That was a total of £23,452·83. I am considering our options around launching a challenge fund for this year. I am looking at that alongside the priorities for expenditure. I found that that was a useful project, and I know that communities and schools felt that it was of value.