Plastic Bag Charges Apply in England from 5th October 2015

  • 5p Charge for Plastic Bags in England.
  • Follows Wales and Scotland.
  • Effective 5th October 2015.
  • Exemptions for uncooked fish/meat, unwrapped seeds/flowers and knives.

Original Author: Assent Risk Management
Original Links: N/A


From 5th October 2015 large retailers with be obliged to apply a minimum 5p charge for plastic carrier bags in England, a move that follows Wales and Scotland.

For retailers employing less than 250 full-time staff (in total), the charge will be optional.

The move includes carrier bags used for deliveries, for example home deliveries and Click-and-Collect services.


However there are some exceptions where carrier bags will not be chargeable and those uses include:

– uncooked fish and meat,
– unwrapped seeds
– unwrapped flowers
– knives
– prescription medicine
– live aquatic creatures in water
– containing free promotional materials.

Bio-degradable bags are currently not exempt from the charge.


Retailers are required to report the following information to Defra on or before 31 May following the end of the reporting year:

– the number of bags supplied
– the gross and net proceeds of the charge
– any VAT in the gross proceeds
– what you did with the proceeds from the charge
– any reasonable costs and how they break down

Details of the fixed penalties for non-compliance can be found on the website.

More information