Our chief executive, Richard Parry, wrote a letter to the Times expressing our support for this new measure and we're delighted that they've published it today.
The announcement of a 5 pence charge on plastic carrier bags in the Queen's speech comes as welcome news for England's canals and rivers.
Plastic bags are an unsightly blight on the nation's waterways, blocking weirs, getting tangled in boat propellers and trapping wildlife. Even with the help of many volunteers, the Canal & River Trust still spends over £770,000 a year removing litter from the 2,000 miles of historic waterways in our care, money we have to divert from vital maintenance.
What would make a real difference is if the money raised for the charge were recycled back to those environmental charities, like ourselves, who are at the frontline of tackling litter on a daily basis.
What we're doing next
As the Government hasn't fixed the details of their plans yet, we're going to use our regular policy meetings with them to ask for our idea about the distribution of the money raised to be included in the draft regulations.
We will work with other charities and organisations dealing with litter to show the double benefit that this approach will produce – reducing litter at source and supporting work to deal with remaining litter problems;
We're also going to work with potential retail partners on specific litter-targeting schemes, as we do already with Marks & Spencer who direct some of their existing plastic bag charge into their Big Beach and Waterway Clean Up.
If you want to get involved with our work and make the country's waterways a better place then consider joining one of our towpath taskforce days. Tasks vary on a regular basis and can include painting, planting, weeding, litter clearance and general maintenance, depending on what's most needed in that area.