Government plans to extend a mandatory charge for plastic bags to all stores has been backed by independent retailers.

Small shops in Tunbridge Wells buy bags for around 20p each and three managers told the Times they would encourage the attempt to cut down on spending and waste.

At present all shop brands with 250 employees or more are required to charge 5p for plastic bags. Last week the Government announced a consultation for plans to extend the levy to all retailers.

Enforced

Teresa Wilczek, Owner of Snowear on Camden Road, is in favour of the idea in principle but wants to see how it is enforced.

She said: “At the moment we do not have to charge but we will always ask people if they would like a bag (rather than handing one over).

“I would be in favour as many plastic bags go to waste and this would be good for the environment.

“But I have not heard enough about it to know how it would work.

“It feels cruel as well to charge 5p for a bag after the customer has just spent hundreds on ski equipment. I would feel embarrassed to enforce it.

“It might also create more work in how we organise our finances. There are so many extra costs for a small firm already, like having a license to play music and keep data.”

The 5p charge has seen a reduction of nearly 90 per cent in their use, according to Government figures. Some independent shops have already enforced their own rule voluntarily.

Since the law came into force in 2014, £66million has been raised through the bag charges, which the Department for Environment said had been donated to good causes.

Adam Lush, Shop Manager of Camden Road’s The Friendly Fisherman, said: “In this business they customers will come here whatever.

“We are the only fishing equipment shop in town so a 5p bag charge is by the bye really.”

Amit Lamichhane, Owner of Camden News, added: “I would favour it, some of our customers will buy a newspaper and take a plastic bag just for that.

“Having a 5p charge will encourage customers to bring in their own bags. We see so many plastic bags go to waste.”