Fight against throwaway culture

Members appointed to expert panel.

Experts from retail, the waste and chemical industries, the public sector and academia have joined a Scottish Government panel tackling plastic pollution.

The government has also appointed current Electoral Commissioner Dame Sue Bruce as chair of the Expert Panel on Environmental Charges and Other Measures, a group that will provide advice on dealing with disposable cups and plastic straws.

She will be joined by behavioural expert Professor Dame Theresa Marteau, economist Professor Liam Delaney, Mike Barry, the director of sustainable business at Marks & Spencer, Roger Kilburn from the biotech and chemical industry, Professor Margaret Bates from the waste industry and Professor Aileen McHarg who will bring legal expertise.

SEPA chief executive Terry A'Hearn, Zero Waste Scotland chief executive Iain Gulland and disability adviser Professor Kate Sang will also sit on the group. A 2050 Climate Group representative will provide a young person’s perspective.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Scotland has demonstrated leadership in tackling plastic pollution. We were the first country in the UK to commit to introducing a deposit return scheme and we are currently consulting on proposals to ban the manufacture and sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds, one of the items most commonly found on our beaches. 

“But I want to go further, and the creation of our expert panel  is an important step towards seriously addressing this issue in Scotland. The panel’s expertise and skills from across waste, legal, retail and public sectors as well providing a voice for young people and disabled people, will help us identify the bold actions we can take in Scotland to encourage long-term, sustainable changes in consumer and producer behaviour.”

Dame Sue Bruce said:

“I am very much looking forward to working with the Expert Panel in this important and fascinating work. Not one of us can have failed to be shocked by the coverage in recent months of the state of plastic pollution on our land and in our seas. 

“While these might be global issues, action can be taken by all of us much closer to home.  The panel will be asking questions about what we can do together in Scotland - as consumers, communities, producers, retailers and government – to radically change our attitudes and our use of single-use items.”


Dame Susan Bruce was appointed Electoral Commissioner in 2017. She is the former Chief Executive of The City of Edinburgh Council, Aberdeen City Council and East Dunbartonshire Council and has non-executive roles in the charitable, higher education and commercial sectors.

Announced in the 2017/18 Programme for Government, the Expert Panel on Environmental Charging and Other Measures is an advisory group being established to provide advice to Scottish Ministers on charges or other measures which may be adopted in Scotland within devolved competence with the goal of encouraging the long-term and sustainable changes in consumer and producer behaviour required to move to a circular economy.

To fulfil this remit, the group will have an initial working life of two years, over which time it will deliver a rolling programme of advice on a set of priority items, starting initially with disposable cups and plastic straws. 



Back to top