City trashes plastic bags ban
A BID to make Edinburgh the first plastic bag-free city in the UK looks set to fail after officials warned the move would prove too difficult.
The plan would have seen the council lead the charge to eliminate millions of carrier bags sent to the Capital's rubbish bins every year.
Although smaller UK towns such as Modbury in Devon have managed to go plastic bag-free, the city's Greens wanted Edinburgh to be the first city.
However, a new council report warns the local authority "cannot on its own make Edinburgh plastic bag free" and recommends the council instead leads initiatives to encourage retailers and consumers to use less bags.
It had been hoped that the council would give away thousands of long-life bags to give the city's shoppers an alternative to plastic.
But officials want retailers or community groups to take the lead on this, such as in Leith last year when hundreds of cotton bags were given away free to shoppers.
Greens today said Dundee City Council's commitment to going plastic bag free showed that some cities see the ban as possible.
Green councillor Alison Johnstone, who lodged the motion for the council to report on her proposals to make the city plastic-bag free, said: "I am deeply disappointed by the report, which shows a complete lack of vision and will fly in the face of the administration's commitment to a more sustainable city if they go along with it."
North Berwick launched plans to become the first plastic bag-free town in Scotland in August.
The town's move has the support of businesses and residents. However, Mark Turley, director of services for communities, wrote: "Modbury, Dunoon and North Berwick are small, discrete towns with mostly local shops.
"Edinburgh is home to a plethora of retailers, all with their own environmental initiatives, such as bags for life.
"At this point, in the absence of legislation, any initiative would be voluntary and should be retailer-led.
"It is clear that the council cannot on its own make Edinburgh plastic bag free."
Edinburgh South Lib Dem MSP Mike Pringle, who is trying to revive his parliamentary Bill to introduce a 10p tax on plastic bags, said: "It is disappointing that the council can't see the positives that have been achieved in this area in countries such as Ireland where the bag tax has worked well."
Plastic bags can take up to 500 years to decay in landfill and it is estimated that 46,000 pieces of plastic can be found in every square mile of the world's oceans.
Councillor Robert Aldridge, the city's environment leader, said: "The council will do all it can to educate the public about the benefits of using reusable bags, but we cannot enforce a plastic bag ban on our own."
The report will be discussed at the full council meeting tomorrow.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: East