PLASTIC carrier bags are set to be banned from two Lancashire towns or villages in a bid to tackle climate change.

County council chiefs have drawn up a shortlist of possible pilot places, including one in East Lancashire, which they want to go carrier bag free by 2009.

The move is part of a new climate change strategy, unveiled this week, and supported by Blackburn with Darwen Council and the Environment Agency.

It outlines ways to reduce Lancashire's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2020.

Other measures being looked at include:

  • Displays of longlife lightbulbs in libraries and public buildings, which could be bought at a discount.
  • More eco friendly railway stations, like the £2.5million station planned for Accrington.
  • A "pledging scheme" to encourage residents to take measures to go green. People would use a "carbon calculator" and awards could be given out to green families and businesses.
  • A change in planning policy to favour developments with solar panels and wind turbines.

Residents and businesses will also be asked to contribute to a 'carbon compensation' fund for Gulu, in Uganda, when they use carbon, for example on long haul place trips.

A carrier bag free town would involve traders signing a 'gentleman's agreement' not to give out plastic carrier bags in their shops.

In May Modbury in Devon became the first town in the UK to ban plastic bags.

Instead traders use environmentally-friendly containers, including bags made from recycled paper.

Lancashire County Council's lead officer for climate change, Andy Mullaney, said the policy, which would not be enforceable, could even be adopted in towns with large supermarkets.

He said: "Traders would all sign up to say they would not normally issue a plastic bag for any of their produce.

"Ultimately there is no sanction if one of the traders decides to break rank. They are private businesses and it's up to them.

"But if you imagine a situation where all the retailers in the town have signed up to it except for one supermarket it might prove a bit embarrassing for them."

Mr Mullaney said each trader in the towns on the shortlist would have to be consulted.

Ian Smith, chairman of Accrington Chamber of Trade, said he thought traders would "not willingly" take part.

But he added: "They would have a bit of a moan and a whinge, but if you have to do it you would.

"Personally I would support it."

This week Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged to cut down on the 13 billion disposable plastic bags that are given out by retailers every year.

Many end up in landfill, and carbon is used in making and transporting them.

Local supermarket chain Booths recently became the first supermarket to meet a national target to reduce plastic bag usage by 25 per cent.