Moves to cut carrier bag use welcomed

The SNP has today welcomed the approval by a Scottish Parliament committee of moves to reduce the use of single-use carrier bags in Scotland – despite opposition from the Conservatives.

The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee voted today by eight votes to one to back the moves to encourage a behaviour change in the use of single-use carrier bags by levying a minimum 5p charge on the bags and encouraging local supermarkets to support good causes with the proceeds.

The only vote against the measure was cast by Tory MSP Alex Fergusson despite strong public support for the policy.

A poll conducted for the charity Keep Scotland Beautiful – who visited Parliament today as part of their Bag Monster campaign in favour of a charge – found that 54 per cent of people in Scotland were in favour of the measure and that only 28 per cent were opposed.

Commenting, SNP MSP Rob Gibson said:

“This move to reduce single use carrier bags in Scotland has widespread support and is an excellent way to influence better environmental behaviour across our communities.

“These measures set out national standards and encourage local supermarkets to support good causes with the 5p charge being levied on single-use carrier bags from October 2014.  An 80 per cent reduction in carrier bag use could raise around £5m per year for good causes – with obvious environmental benefits.

“The Tory opposition to this policy is difficult to fathom – especially since their colleagues at Westminster are implementing similar plans.  Yet again the Tories are at odds with popular opinion in Scotland.

“Despite Tory opposition, these measures are vital to influencing a positive behaviour change and – along with the world-leading Scottish Climate Change Act – will contribute to making Scotland a greener, more environmentally- friendly country.”

ENDS

Notes 

The RACCE Committee approved the affirmative instrument: The Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Scotland) Regulations 2014 [draft], by 8 votes 1, with only the Tory MSP Alex Fergusson dissenting.

The Keep Scotland Beautiful poll is reported here:

http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/54-of-scots-back-carrier-bag-charges-1-3417748