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Section 59 — Charges for supply of carrier bags
Climate Change (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3
Mike Pringle (Liberal Democrat)
The simple answer is that I was pragmatic. The fact was that, at that time, the Parliament would not have passed the bill. There seemed little point in reintroducing the bill when the Parliament did not think that the proposal was the right way forward. The right way forward, then and now, is to reduce the number of plastic bags—as has happened over the past 18 months.
Des McNulty is right: there has been a huge reduction in the number of plastic bags; but if that reduction does not continue and section 59 remains, the SNP Government—or a future Government of Scotland—can say, "We haven't gone far enough; there hasn't been enough of a reduction." We need only consider the example of countries all over the world that have gone down the route of charging. Ireland is a good example. In Ireland, there was a massive reduction in plastic bags and a huge increase in recycling. That is one of the reasons why my bill would have been successful. I congratulate the SNP and urge the Parliament to keep section 59 in the bill.