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Plastic bag levy shows positive return

Last modified: 01 October 2012

Group walking around Rye Meads RSPB reserve

Image: Andy Hay

Today (Monday 1 October) marks the first anniversary of RSPB Cymru and Tesco customers making a difference for wildlife in Wales.

Tesco’s decision to donate the money raised in its stores from the Welsh Government’s (WG) 5p single-use bag levy to the RSPB has helped fund projects to save threatened Welsh wildlife. This income has allowed RSPB Cymru to continue and extend its conservation work in Wales.

Incredibly welcome

RSPB Cymru Director Katie-jo Luxton explains: “The bag levy money has come at an incredibly welcome time for all charities, including RSPB Cymru. The current challenging economic conditions have had a very damaging effect on our ability to fundraise successfully, and whilst we are a big and robust charity, the breadth and scale of our work means that we are always short of resources.”

Tesco customers have raised an incredible £770,000 through the bag levy for RSPB Cymru, however this money simply replaces other sources of income which have now disappeared. RSPB Cymru’s resources remain limited, and a far greater investment is needed from a wide range of sources to reverse the catastrophic decline of Welsh wildlife.

Tesco customers have raised an incredible £770,000 through the bag levy for RSPB Cymru

Michael Kissman, Tesco Community Director said: “I know how important the single-use bag levy has been in reducing plastic bag use in Wales and our customers have told us that if they have to pay for a single-use bag, they’d like the proceeds to go towards protecting the natural environment. The work RSPB Cymru is doing is having a really positive effect on natural habitats throughout Wales and is opening up areas of natural beauty that would otherwise be in jeopardy.” 

RSPB Cymru has spent this money on key conservation projects in Wales.

Over the past year, with the support of local farmers, the RSPB has been working on the Hiraethog Moors in north Wales to create suitable habitat to help preserve the fragile populations of curlew, lapwing, red and black grouse and golden plover.

Conservation management work has taken place at our Carngafallt nature reserve in mid Wales, improving the habitat, providing interpretation and making this wonderful oak woodland reserve and its wildlife more accessible to visitors.

In north Wales, Conwy nature reserve is transforming the landscape around the visitor centre to connect more families with nature, and encourage them to experience the wonderful wildlife on their doorstep.

And at Lake Vyrnwy nature reserve local contractors were used to cut heather to provide ideal conditions for our most important moorland breeding birds, species such as hen harrier, merlin, black grouse, meadow pipit and skylark. 

Environmental impact

Katie-jo says: “RSPB Cymru strongly supports the Welsh Government’s initiative on the plastic bag levy. These projects are a wonderful example of how Tesco customers and RSPB Cymru are working together for threatened wildlife here in Wales.”

“This levy not only provides money for conservation, it also encourages people to think about the environmental impact of their actions, and will result in fewer plastic bags littering our landscapes and causing problems for wildlife.”

She adds: “We would like to thank Tesco for its support over the past year and for nominating us as their chosen charity, and would encourage more retailers in Wales to nominate environmental organisations to receive their bag levy money.”

“We need to leave a lasting ‘green’ legacy for our children and future generations, and by investing money into conservation work Tesco and the Welsh public are stepping up for nature and making a massive difference in Wales.”

How you can help

We've come together with Tesco to help save rainforests all over the world. But we need your help. You can donate quickly and easily online, and you can donate green Tesco Clubcard points and Tesco Clubcard vouchers to the campaign too.