Retailers have reacted with anger to proposals by the Welsh Assembly to charge shoppers a fee of 15p for every plastic carrier bag used. 

The Welsh Assembly said the proposal is part of its strategy to reduce the proportion of waste going to landfill. A public consultation began this week on the issue.

A British Retail Consortium spokesman said: “We’re not saying charging is wrong but it’s not suited to all retailers. It’s wrong for government to be prescriptively introducing charges like this.”

A raft of UK retailers signed up to an agreement to reduce the number of bags they use by 25 per cent by the end of 2008 and made a further commitment to reduce use by an additional 25 per cent by the end of last month.

The Welsh Assembly said not all retailers had signed up to the agreement and half of all plastic bags are still only used for one shopping trip.