Scottish Parliament approves carrier bag charge

The Scottish Parliament has approved new regulations to introduce a charge for single-use carrier bags.

The introduction of carrier bag charges in Scotland has cleared its final parliamentary hurdle

The introduction of carrier bag charges in Scotland has cleared its final parliamentary hurdle

The regulations, which will be brought into law under the Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Scotland) Regulations 2014, were approved by MSPs in a vote by 100 votes to 12.

MSPs at Holyrood backed the plan to charge shoppers a minimum of 5p for bags from 20 October.

Money raised through the introduction of the charge will go to good causes.

Welcoming the decision, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "The vast number of single use carrier bags given out in Scotland is symbolic of our throwaway society. By requiring retailers to charge at least 5p per bag we want shoppers to stop and think about what we discard. Instead of taking another bag that could end up as litter, we want people to re-use their bags or consider alternatives like bags for life.

"This charge is not a tax but will see retailers donating the proceeds to charity and has the potential to raise millions of pounds for good causes, including environmental projects. The Scottish Government and delivery body Zero Waste Scotland have been working closely with retailers at all stages of the process and will continue to do so in the run up to 20 October and beyond."

Zero Waste Scotland director Ian Gulland also welcomed the Scottish Parliament's approval for a single use carrier bag charge in Scotland.He said that it was "a hugely positive step" which will help to reduce the number of bags in use and reduce litter.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks added: "Charging for carrier bags has been highly successful in changing behaviour elsewhere, so it's great news Scotland is now going to do likewise. Single-use carrier bags are symbolic of our wasteful attitude to resource use which must be addressed if Scotland's vision of a zero waste future is to be realised.

"The millions of carrier bags used every year pollute our environment, threaten wildlife and take decades to break down in landfills."

Liz Gyekye
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