Lenihan told to keep his hands off plastic-bag tax
ENVIRONMENT Minister John Gormley has warned the Department of Finance to keep its hands off the €57m generated each year from the plastic bag tax.
The Green Party leader said yesterday that he would "not allow" the money to be paid into the central government coffers of Finance Minister Brian Lenihan because it was needed to support higher recycling rates and funding in the green technology sector.
Since 2002, shoppers who need a plastic bag have been forced to pay 22c in an effort to reduce usage -- which now stands at an average of 30 per consumer per year, copmapred to 328 eight years ago.
Levies charged on users of landfills and the plastic bag tax are ring-fenced into the so-called Environment Fund.
The money is used to fund civic amenity centres, waste prevention awareness campaigns and research projects in the green technology sector.
But there have been calls for the money to be paid into central government coffers.
The 'Bord Snip' report said the proceeds should be paid directly to the exchequer, and funding for certain schemes cut, saving €9.5m a year.
But Mr Gormley said the fund, which stands at €40m, is staying in his department.