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Global plastics crisis

Thank you to those constituents who have emailed me regarding the global plastics crisis and safeguarding our natural environment. This is an incredibly important topic and I appreciate you taking the time to inform me of your concerns. From the outset, I should highlight that most environmental policy is devolved to the Scottish Parliament and as such I have limited remit to influence legislation aimed at meeting Scotland’s climate targets. With that said, I can assure you that protecting Scotland’s natural environment is a key priority for the recently re-elected SNP Scottish Government. In terms of policy actions to tackle the plastic crisis, the Scottish Government has committed to bring forward a Circular Economy Bill to advance Scotland’s ambitions for the circular economy through measures which will encourage reuse of products and to reduce waste. In addition to personal hygiene products containing plastic microbeads and plastic stemmed cotton buds, which are already banned in Scotland, the Scottish Government has committed in this Parliamentary Session to ban single-use plastic cutlery, plates, straws, balloon sticks, food and beverage containers. These are some of the most environmentally damaging single-use plastics and, bearing in mind equalities interests for exemptions, the SNP will end their supply and manufacture in Scotland. As well as this, you may be aware that the Scottish Government recently completed a consultation on this issue focusing on introducing market restrictions on single-use plastics in Scotland. From now, consultation responses are being analysed and will inform policy, as the Scottish Government seeks to match the EU Single-Us Plastic Directive – unlike the UK Government. With that said, my SNP colleagues and I in Westminster will continue to urge the UK Government to match the more ambitious Scottish Government’s environmental targets – particularly when it comes to reducing plastic waste and lowering carbon emissions to meet our shared visions of net zero and a sustainable climate. Tackling this crisis as a collective is crucial to achieving our climate targets; and this need for a collective, robust global response will be further emphasised as we approach COP26 in Glasgow. This summit is an important milestone for Scotland as a world leader in climate sustainability, and I trust the Scottish Government will seek to exert pressure to promote and protect natural habitats, lobby international leaders for stronger commitments to climate action and reduce carbon emissions for the sake of our shared future. Once again, thank you for taking the time to get in touch to raise this incredibly important issue. I hope the above proves useful and makes clear the actions that the SNP is taking both in Holyrood and Westminster to tackle the plastics crisis.

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