Plastic Bags

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:11 am on 17th October 2012.

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Photo of David Heath David Heath The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 11:11 am, 17th October 2012

It should be. My hon. Friend is giving an example of exactly why we need to look at the results in the round rather than at a simple indicator. Let us do that and let us be convinced, if convinced we are, that what has happened in Wales is the right way to approach the issue. We will also consider the Scottish consultation on change, which closed on 28 September, and discuss the matter with our colleagues in Scotland. We will balance the benefits of any change with the real, but avoidable, effect on household budgets to ensure that we get the right option.

My hon. Friend the Member for Richmond Park asked me whether I had met the Welsh Environment Minister, and the answer is that I have not, but my hon. Friend will accept, I think, that I would not be expected to have such a meeting because that would be the job of my noble Friend, Lord de Mauley. In fact, it was Lord de Mauley’s predecessor in the Department, Lord Taylor, who met John Griffiths in July 2012 to discuss the matter.

My hon. Friend asked me whether I could confirm that the introduction of a charge would only require secondary legislation. If we did take such action, it would be from powers that stem from section 77 of the Climate Change Act 2008, which makes provision for charges for single-use carrier bags. Therefore, in England, we could introduce such a charge through secondary legislation, but it would be subject to a consultation process because that is the mechanism of government.