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November 03, 2006

Scotland bins bag tax plans

Environmental Data Interactive Exchange

Plans to follow in the footsteps of Ireland by introducing a tax on plastic bags have been put on the backburner in Scotland after the MSP who proposed them withdrew his Bill.

Mike Pringle, Lib Dem MSP for Edinburgh South, had put forward a Plastic Bag Levy Bill which would see supermarkets and other retailers providing plastic bags charging a small fee for every carrier customers required, in an effort to encourage consumers to use their own bags.

The Bill had found considerable support among other MSPs, though manufacturers of the bags had, unsurprisingly, opposed the moves, saying it would harm the Scottish economy and cost jobs.

But now, despite the fact the Scottish Executive has not passed the Bill, Mr Pringle says he has accomplished what he set out to do and it is now down to the executive to take what steps it feels are required to tackle plastic waste north of the border. According to Mr. Pringle, "withdrawing this Bill now puts the ball firmly in the Scottish Executive's court. I want to see concrete proposals that integrate my Bill into an overall waste minimisation strategy.

Ross Finnie, Scottish Environment Minister, claimed a voluntary code asking retailers to sign up for reductions could be just as effective as legislation. "I would strongly urge retailers to sign up to the voluntary code and I'd expect to see progress shortly. If agreement cannot be reached, then legislation may have to be considered."

Link: Scotland bins bag tax plans.

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