Publication - Impact assessment

EU single use plastics directive consultation: impact assessment - environmental report

Environmental report for a consultation on the introduction of new legislation to restrict the supply of seven single-use plastic items and all oxo-degradable products, in Scotland, with the intended effect of reducing the volume and impact of plastic pollution within terrestrial and marine environments.

146 page PDF

1.9 MB

146 page PDF

1.9 MB

Contents
EU single use plastics directive consultation: impact assessment - environmental report
11. Appendix A - Addressing Responses from Consultative Authorities

146 page PDF

1.9 MB

11. Appendix A - Addressing Responses from Consultative Authorities

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

Ref: SEPA1

Consultation Response:

SEPA recommends expanding the scope of the assessment to include consideration of the potential for direct effects on soil and water.

Commentary / action taken:

The scope of the assessment has now been expanded to include the direct effects on soil (see Chapter 8).

With regards to the impacts of proposed measures on water, we have explored marine plastic pollution impacts within the biodiversity chapter, as suggested by SEPA. This is consistent with the DRS SEA, and makes sense given the primary impact of marine plastic pollution is on marine biodiversity.

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

Chapter 8 Soil

Section 7.2.2 & Section 7.4.2

Ref: SEPA2

Consultation Response:

SEPA suggests considering alternative strategic policy approaches as well as alternative materials in the Reasonable Alternatives section.

Commentary / action taken:

Article 5 of the EU Single Use Plastics Directive requires the introduction of market restrictions for a specified list of problematic single use plastic items and all oxo-degradable products. If Scotland is to meet standards set out by the EU, these items must be included within the scope of proposed measures.

The Scottish Government understands the problems caused by single-use items cannot be solved entirely by replacing them with alternative entirely single-use items made with different materials. While the focus of this consultation is on introducing market restrictions on the items listed in the SUP Directive, the Scottish Government wishes to see innovative solutions that support more sustainable business models and reusable alternatives prioritised over substitution of materials.

It is the Scottish Government's intention to explore further market restrictions on a wider range of items in due course.

However, the Scottish Government also recognises that market restrictions alone are insufficient to minimise the environmental impacts of single-use items, which is why it is pursuing a range of other measures aimed at addressing marine litter and reducing reliance on single use items by promoting prevention and reuse.

The proposed measures set out in the consultation, therefore, form part of our overall approach to reducing reliance on single-use items and sit alongside a broader range of initiatives already established or underway, such as market restrictions on plastic microbeads and plastic stemmed-cotton buds. Our approach is underpinned by the work of the Expert Panel on Environmental Charges and Other Measures (EPECOM) whose second report looks at the issue of single-use in a holistic way.

The Scottish Government is committed to implementing the other requirements of the SUP Directive, and has set out in the consultation existing actions and next steps that will help create a more circular plastics economy in Scotland.

We intend to track, report and review the impact of measures and assess what more needs to be done to tackle marine litter and address our throwaway culture.

However, such other measures are complementary to or would exceed the proposed market restrictions that are required by the EU Single Use Plastics Directive and, therefore, they are not considered reasonable alternatives.

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

Section 2.4

Ref: SEPA3

Consultation Response:

SEPA has outlined that additional analysis may be required for oxo-degradable plastics as proposed market restrictions are not a specific product, but a material which is being banned, and thus there may be multiple alternative materials which could be used to replace it depending on the application.

Commentary / action taken:

Although oxo-degradable plastics can be replaced by a number of different materials such as bio-based and conventional plastics, our analysis is based on switching all oxo-degradable plastics to conventional fossil-based plastics. This approach is deemed to represent the worst-case scenario as the overall environmental impacts of fossil-based plastics are higher than the impacts of bio-based plastics. Although oxo-degradable plastics can be replaced by a number of different materials such as biobased and conventional plastics. Our analysis is based on the worst-case scenario where oxo-degradable plastic targeted in the proposed market restrictions is replaced by fossil-based plastic which deemed to have the highest environmental burden when compared against biobased plastics.

Due to the paucity of data with regards to market shares of oxo-degradable applications in Scotland, our analysis covers the impacts of proposed market restrictions on two applications: carrier bags and agricultural mulch. Investigating other areas is not deemed to lead to a significant change to the trend observed in our analysis.

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

Section 8.3.2

Ref: SEPA4

Consultation Response:

SEPA suggests creating a diagram that depicts where proposal sits within wider policy context (if possible).

To improve transparency and public understanding, "It would be helpful for the Environmental Report (ER) to [set out policy context in] diagrammatic form (if possible) to show key linkages between existing and on-going work packages", such as "producer responsibility schemes and awareness campaigns and measures that could be brought in as part of a CE Bill".

Commentary / action taken:

We have now added diagrams depicting plans, policies, and strategies related to each topic area.

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

See Figures 4.1, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, and 8.1

Ref: SEPA5

Consultation Response:

SEPA asked for further clarifications on how non-climatic factors are be assessed.

"6.3 Section 3.3 of the Scoping report states that "analysis is conducted with respect to the carbon emissions relating to production and disposal processes of relevant SUPs and alternative replacement products. Carbon emissions relating to both sets of products are compared in order to determine the environmental consequences of replacing SUPs with more sustainable, non-plastic alternatives". It is unclear how this relates to consideration of topics other than climatic factors. It is also unclear what is meant in Section 3.3 "The assessment has adopted a primary tier to explore the potential for significant primary environmental effects within the SEA scoped-in topics". We would ask that these issues be clarified."

Commentary / action taken:

A dedicated methodology section has now been added under each topic chapter where the readership can find further information on the assessment methodology. See Section 4.3.1 for climatic factors, 5.3.1 for material assets, 6.3.1 for landscape and visual impacts, 7.3.1 for biodiversity, and 8.3.1 for soil.

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

See the third section in the following Chapters 4 to 8.

Ref: SEPA6

Consultation Response:

With regards to monitoring proposals, SEPA suggests explaining how any proposed monitoring measures link with any monitoring which already exists.

Commentary / action taken:

Proposed monitoring will call upon existing monitoring mechanisms such as those undertaken by Keep Scotland Beautiful;[109] NatureScot;[110] Scotland's Environment[111] and others, in order to co-ordinate and maximise the utility of collected data.

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

Section 10.2 Proposals for monitoring

Ref: SEPA7

Consultation Response:

SEPA asked for further clarifications on what it is meant by primary and secondary tier effects. SEPA comment: "Screening/Scoping report mentioned assessing primary and secondary tier impacts, but did not explain what this means, why it is necessary or how it will be done"

Commentary / action taken:

In order to simplify and clarify the methodology, we have now removed all references to primary and secondary tier effects and only focused on the significant effects across the impact categories agreed by the consultative authorities.

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

Section 3.4

Ref: SEPA8

Consultation Response:

SEPA suggests looking into the potential effects of including a wider range or a different set of items to those included in the proposed single-use plastic directive. If such approaches are considered not to be "reasonable" then SEPA asked for justifications to be provided in the ER.

Commentary / action taken:

The Scottish Government has committed to meet standards set out in the SUP Directive. Article 5 requires the introduction of market restrictions for the specified list of problematic single use plastic items and all oxo-degradable products. The items covered by the Directive are based on the items most commonly found littered on beaches across Europe. If Scotland is to meet standards set out by the EU, these items must be included within the scope of proposed measures.

Whilst the focus of the proposed measures is on items covered by the SUP Directive, we recognise that Scotland's beaches are blighted by some items not specified in the Directive.

It is the Scottish Government's intention to explore further market restrictions on a wider range of items in due course, as set out in the consultation.

As these measures are complementary to or would exceed the proposed market restrictions required by the EU Single Use Plastics Directive, they are not considered reasonable alternatives.

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

N/A

Scotland's Nature Agency (NatureScot)

Ref: NatureScot 1

Consultation Response:

NatureScot recommends expanding the scope of the assessment to include consideration of the potential for direct effects on soil and water.

Commentary / action taken:

This point is addressed in our response to comment above (SEPA 1)

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

Chapter 8 Soil

Section 7.2.2 & Section 7.4.2

Ref: NatureScot 2

Consultation Response:

NatureScot asked to clarify what it is meant by primary and secondary approaches and review criteria used under the landscape and visual impacts criterion.

Commentary / action taken:

This point is addressed in our response to comment above (SEPA 7)

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

Section 3.4

Ref: NatureScot 3

Consultation Response:

NatureScot outlined that other policies may be more effective at achieving the overarching goal of reducing environmental impacts of single use items/plastics. NatureScot asked whether additional policy measures to tackle Scotland's throw-away culture should be considered a reasonable alternative?

Commentary / action taken:

This point is addressed in our response to comment above (SEPA 2)

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

Ref: NatureScot 4

Consultation Response:

General comment: The table in Appendix B needs to be clarified as Measures four to eight in the Material Assets section appear to relate to Biodiversity.

Commentary / action taken:

This issue has been addressed.

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

Section 5.3.2

Ref: NatureScot 5

Consultation Response:

General comment: Simplify methodology using narrative approach where uncertainties exist, similar to the commentary in the table in Appendix B. Avoid repetition.

Commentary / action taken:

A dedicated methodology section has now been added under each topic chapter where the readership can find further information on the assessment methodology. See Section 4.3.1 for climatic factors, 5.3.1 for material assets, 6.3.1 for landscape and visual impacts, 7.3.1 for biodiversity, and 8.3.1 for soil.

We have also added a summary table in Results section under each topic to make it easier for the readership to compare results across different scenarios.

Relevant location in Environmental Report:

See the third section in the following Chapters 4 to 8.


Contact

Email: SUPD@gov.scot