Ireland's environment minister Noel Dempsey has bowed to representations from the grocery trade and agreed the proposed levy on plastic bags be delayed to avoid complicating the euro changeover. The charge of 15 cents (12p) per bag, to be paid by the consumer and collected by shops and supermarkets, will now be implemented from March 4, rather than February, the original starting date. Ailish Forde, director general of the grocers' body RGDATA, had warned it would make life very difficult for retailers, if introduced in the middle of the switch to the euro. The levy could raise as much as E130m annually, with the money committed to environmental improvements. The aim is to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags. Already, one plant which manufactured plastic bags for the Irish trade has closed because of the levy. A second plant is threatened because of the minister's refusal to reduce the levy for biodegradable plastic bags supplied to Musgrave and Centra/SuperValu. {{NEWS }}