ENVIRONMENT Minister Mark H Durkan has pulled back from a plan to increase the plastic bag tax levy next year.
His department planned to raise the levy from next April from 5 p to 10 per plastic bag.
However, the SDLP Minister said he had decided to not to introduce the new change because of the huge reduction in plastic bags by the public.
There has been an estimated 80 per cent reduction in the use of single plastic bags since the levy was introduced in April.
Mr Durkan said the results showed the 5p levy had produced “a step change in consumer behaviour”.
“As a result I believe that we do not need to increase the levy to 10p,” he said.
“Since the introduction of the 5p levy, the public have adopted a very responsible attitude and I commend them for that. I therefore will keep the levy at 5p for the foreseeable future. I will of course keep the situation under review.”
The minister still intends to extend the 5p levy to low cost reusable carrier bags from April 2014.