STROUD town councillors say the new levy shoppers will have to pay for plastic bags is not enough to make a major difference to the environment.

In the Queen’s Speech – the government’s legislative timetable – it was announced that from October next year shoppers will have to pay 5p for a plastic bag.

But the levy will only apply to Britain’s supermarkets, which hand out seven billion carrier bags a year.

Stroud town councillor Eva Ward said: “Five pence is not enough to deter people, though it is a welcome start.”

Cllr Ward is spearheading the town council initiative called STOP: Stroud Town Opposed to Plastic (bags and packaging). The STOP campaign aims to raise awareness of the waste of plastic bags and encourage businesses and supermarkets to offer alternatives.