Environmental levies should be introduced on soft drink cans, chewing gum and takeaway packaging in the Irish Republic, according to outgoing environment minister Noel Dempsey, following the success of the levy on plastic bags. He said: "The levy has received overwhelming support from the public. Usage of plastic bags has dropped by up to 90%, with some major retailers reporting that numbers have fallen by more than 95%." Now Dempsey, who is leaving environment to become education minister, is predicting further levies in the fight against litter. "I have no doubt," he said, "that in the next few years, items such as soft-drink cans, chewing gum and certain types of packaging will also be targeted, in the same way as plastic bags." Last month DEFRA said it planned to assess the results of the Irish levy "in about three months" before making any decision on implementing a similar change in the UK (The Grocer, May 11). {{NEWS }}