Plastic bag levy arrives nine years late

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At long last Scotland has finally got there and not before time. Today is a great day for the environment. The Scottish Government has finally got around to imposing a levy on plastic bags.

Malcolm Parkin (Letters, 13 October) asks why the simple solution of a levy on plastic bags to save the planet was not introduced before now.

I put forward this proposal in my bill first introduced on 17 June, 2005. Sadly most of the MSPs on the environment committee (of all parties including my own, the Scottish Liberal Democrats) saw fit to oppose the proposal.

Opposition from supermarkets and plastic-bag manufacturers was intense. Huge support came from environment groups, and B&Q was particularly supportive.

Scotland has lagged behind so many others, including Ireland, Australia, California, South Africa, and Wales. It has taken us nearly ten years for sense to prevail. In the meantime millions of plastic bags have continued to pollute the planet. The marine environment has suffered untold damage, numerous animals such as turtles, birds and dolphins have died and huge amounts of money have been spent attempting to clean up the mess.

The levy that was proposed then would have, by now, raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for environmental projects.

Mike Pringle

(Former Liberal Democrat MSP for Edinburgh South)