9. Cumulative Effects
Schedule 3 (6) (e) of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 requires that the "secondary, cumulative and synergistic effects" of the SUP Directive are assessed. This section provides an assessment of the cumulative effects of proposed market restrictions on single-use plastic items in scope both alone (Section 9.1) and in-combination with other plans and programmes (Section 9.2).
9.1 Cumulative effects of market restrictions on single-use plastic items in scope
This section presents the cumulative effects for proposed market restrictions on single-use plastic items in scope. The cumulative effects identified are based on an overall judgment of the effects of proposed measures on the five SEA topics included in the assessment, taking into account the range of effects on the assessment questions/SEA criteria as presented in sections 4 to 7 (i.e. whether significant or minor, positive or negative).
The cumulative effects of proposed measures against each SEA topic are summarised in Table 9‑1.
Our analysis shows that the proposed measures will generate cumulative positive effects in respect of climatic factors (achieving carbon savings of 6,188 tonnes CO2e), landscape/visual impacts and biodiversity related to reduced littering. However, the magnitude of these positive effects is not deemed to be significant given the relatively small scale of materials in question.
No cumulative significant negative effects have been identified during the assessment. The proposed market restrictions are expected to generate an additional 1,440 tonnes of waste as we shift from plastics to heavier alternatives (e.g., cardboard and wood). This amounts to a 0.001% increase in total Scottish waste and is therefore deemed insignificant. The proposed measures don't require additional infrastructure facilities or major changes to the way waste is collected and managed in Scotland.
|Measure No.||Single-use plastic item||Alternative option||Material Assets||Climatic Factors||Landscape and Visual Impacts||Biodiversity, flora and fauna||Soil|
|1||Cutlery||Wooden Cutlery||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Significant positive effect||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect|
|2||Plates||Wax-coated Paper Plates||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Significant positive effect||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect|
|3||Beverage Stirrer||Wooden Stirrer||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect|
|4||Straws||Wax-line Paper Straws||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Significant positive effect||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect|
|5||Balloon sticks||Cardboard Balloon Sticks||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect|
|6||Food containers made of expanded polystyrene||Wax-coated Cardboard Boxes||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Significant positive effect||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect|
|7||Cups and beverage containers made of expanded polystyrene||Plastic-coated paper cups||-/? Minor negative effect / Score uncertain||Minor negative effect||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain|
|8||Oxo-degradable HDPE||Conventional HDPE||No overall effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect||No overall effect||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain||Minor positive effect / Score uncertain|
The key to each assessment score is shown below.
++ : Significant positive effect
+ : Minor positive effect
0 : No overall effect
- : Minor negative effect
-- : Significant negative effect
? : Score uncertain
NB: where more than one symbol is presented in a box it indicates that the SEA has found more than one score for the category. Where the scores are both positive and negative, the boxes are deliberately not coloured (i.e. 'no overall effect'). Where a box is coloured but also contains a "?" this indicates uncertainty over whether the effect could be a minor or significant effect although a professional judgement is expressed in the colour used. A conclusion of uncertainty arises where there is insufficient evidence for expert judgement to conclude an effect.
9.2 Cumulative effects of proposed market restrictions with other plans and programmes
The proposed market restrictions would sit within and across a number of other pre-existing plans and programmes (Sections 4.1-7.1 above) that are relevant to the effective management of plastic wastes and their wider effects.
Although the combined effects of the proposed market restrictions and other plans and programmes are difficult to fully assess, it is anticipated that this intervention will support and enhance the pre-existing aims, objectives and targets of the Plans and Programmes as follows:
- UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 - Placing a restriction on the specified single-use plastic items would directly contribute to efforts around UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 relating to conservation and sustainable use of oceanic and marine resources.
- UN Sustainable Development Goal 15 - relates to conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, and halting and reversing land degradation and biodiversity loss. A reduction in plastic-based products may precipitate an attendant increase in paper products, which will place greater strain on land use, as more trees are needed to meet this increased demand in paper-based products.
- EU Water Framework Directive (2000) - called for a reduction in the amount of plastics entering the environment, which is a fundamental principle of the proposed market restrictions.
- The EU Directive on the Reduction of the Impact of Certain Plastic Products on the Environment (2019) - calls for restrictions to be placed on commonly found single-use and oxo-degradable plastics; mirroring the proposed market restrictions.
- The Environmental Protection Act (1990) - was implemented to reduce plastic littering and pollution and aligns closely with the aims of the proposed market restrictions in mitigating litter levels.
- The Climate Change (Scotland) Act (2009), The Marine Litter Strategy for Scotland (2014), and the National Litter Strategy (Scotland) (2014) - Each emphasise the need for a decrease in terrestrial and marine pollution and litter, and for greater consideration and respect for the Scottish environment, as echoed by the proposed market restrictions.
- The Scottish Biodiversity Strategy (2004/2013) - calls for the imperative need to continuously improve the health of ecosystems and natural habitats within Scotland. As mentioned, any increase in paper-based products may require land use change, as more trees are needed to cope with demand on materials.
- The Scottish Government Circular Economy Strategy (2016) - promotes the need for more responsible, sustainable resource use and greater respect for material assets. The aspirations of the Strategy are significantly enhanced by the restriction of single-use and oxo-degradable plastics in Scotland.
In summary, and at this stage, it is predicted that the proposals would generally not result in conflict between the programmes described but would in most instances compliment the aims and aspirations of many of these.