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Scotland set to reject plastic bag tax

Scotlands Environment and Rural Development Committee has recommended that the Scottish Parliament reject a proposed tax on plastic bags.

The Committees unanimous decision comes after two years of rigorous expert examination of a Private Members Bill recommending the proposed tax. It concluded that a levy on plastic bags cannot achieve the clear environmental benefits that the Committee would like.

The Carrier Bag Consortium (CBC), representing producers and suppliers of lightweight plastic carrier bags, welcomed the recommendation.

CBC chairman Barry Turner said: This is not a win for the plastic bag industry but for Scotlands environment.

Committee convener Sarah Boyack MSP said in an official statement: The proposal seems very simple, but we found that the possible impacts of the levy are actually very complex on a whole range of issues. Implementing one measure in isolation doesnt give the flexibility to make sure that the environment benefits.

Turner added: A tax on carrier bags in Scotland would have resulted in an extra 13,000 tonnes of waste going to landfill. This debate was about honesty. It was about delivering the best environmental option and the Scottish Environment Committee was in a unique position to recognise the value of science over political spin.

UK industry, retailers and Government now propose to develop a voluntary environmental code of reduction, reuse and recycling.

Packaging and Industrial Films Association (PIFA) chief executive David Tyson said: It works well in Australia and with the backing of consumer education can work well in the UK without the need to resort to taxing people and causing greater environmental impacts in the process.

There is no doubt that plastic bags are the best environmental choice we can make provided we keep on reusing them or put them in recycling bins afterwards.

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