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Don't hold us back

Published: 22 Jan 2018 18:00

Environment Secretary challenges UK Government over deposit return.

Scotland will push ahead with a deposit return scheme for drinks containers and is calling on the UK Government to match its ambition, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has said.

Ms Cunningham has already pledged that Scotland will back the EU’s vision to phase out single use plastics by 2030 and urged the UK Government to do the same – “Brexit or no Brexit.”

Earlier this month, the Scottish Government became the first UK administration to announce plans to ban the use of plastic cotton buds, one of the items most often washed up on beaches.

Speaking at Scotland House in London, Ms Cunningham told an audience of business and environmental leaders she was disappointed the UK Government’s long-awaited 25 Year Environment Plan failed to commit to a deposit return scheme.

Ms Cunningham said:

“The Scottish Government is responsible for the environmental protection of around ten per cent of Europe’s coastline so we have a particular duty to demonstrate leadership.

“But, of course, discarded plastics are having a growing impact on land as well as at sea.

“We believe a deposit return scheme for drinks containers has a vital role to play in protecting our environment and wish to co-operate with the UK government, and other devolved administrations, to deliver the best possible scheme for everyone.

“The time for action is now, and I urge the UK Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, to join us in this important endeavour.”


The First Minister’s Programme for Government, published last year, pledged to introduce such a scheme in an effort to reduce the growing impact of discarded drinks containers on the environment.