Expert Panel on Environmental Charging and Other Measures: November 2019

Minutes from the seventh meeting of Expert Panel on Environmental Charging and Other Measures (EPECOM), held on 14 November 2019.

Attendees and apologies


Panel members

  • Dame Sue Bruce, Chair 
  • Prof. Dame Theresa Marteau, Vice Chair
  • Professor Margaret Bates        
  • Professor Aileen McHarg         
  • Gemma Stenhouse              
  • Dr Ian Archer
  • Liam Delaney (by telephone)


  • Don McGillivray, Scottish Government
  • Iain Gulland, Zero Waste Scotland


  • Janet McVea, Scottish Government
  • Andrew Forsyth, Scottish Government
  • Jack Barrie, Zero Waste Scotland
  • Callum Blackburn, Zero Waste Scotland
  • Aster de Vries Lentsch, Scottish Government
  • Beth Hadley, Scottish Government 
  • Rhys Howell, SG: Environment and Rural Analysis


  • Kate Sang
  • Mike Barry
  • Terry A’hearn, Advisor

Items and actions

Agenda Item 1 – Welcome, Apologies, Minutes of last meeting and Action Log

1. Dame Sue Bruce chaired the meeting and welcomed the Panel to its seventh meeting. She also welcomed Dr Ian Archer to his first meeting, who succeeds Roger Kilburn as a chemicals and materials expert, noting his input and expertise will be a valuable addition to the Panel as it continues the second phase of its work. 

2. Apologies were noted from Professor Kate Sang, Mike Barry and Terry A’hearn. The Panel approved the minutes of the last meeting and noted the progression of the action log. 

Agenda Item 2 – Chair’s Scene Setting

3. The Chair started by noting this meeting would be a special opportunity for the Panel Members to meet with the Cabinet Secretary and highlight the work they have been doing. Dame Sue also expressed her delight that the Programme for Government published on 3 September contained some clear commitments to take forward the Panel’s recommendations. The Circular Economy Bill in particular was noted for containing the necessary legislative framework to impose a future charge on cups, and the Panel was informed that consultation on the Circular Economy Bill proposals went live on the 7th of November. 

Agenda Item 3 – Framework for Action on Single-Use Items (Paper 7.2)

4. The Secretariat presented a first draft policy toolkit for consideration and a list of potentials items to consider for a case study. The Secretariat proposed a structure based around “five Es” consisting of: 

  1. Equalities Impact 
  2. Essentiality 
  3. Entire System
  4. Engagement
  5. Evidence

5. The Panel were asked whether they preferred ‘toolkit’ or ‘framework’ to describe their final product. Panel Members agreed that as this would be pitched at a strategic level more than an operational, a framework would be the more appropriate output. 

DECISION: The final output of the Panel to be set up as a policy framework rather than a toolkit. 

6. The Panel were then asked for their general comments on the framework, as well as four specific questions to enable the Secretariat to refine the draft proposals. 

  1. What audience the Panel wanted to target the policy framework at? 
  2. What sort of shape, layout or size the Panel had in mind for the report and what level of detail they would like?
  3. Did the Panel agree that the core pillars and framework structure were a reflection of the Panel’s emergent thinking to date?
  4. Were there any specific individuals or organisations that the Panel would like to hear from and should present to the Panel in February 2020 to help inform the Panel’s thinking on the framework?

7. The Panel offered initial comments on the proposed “five Es”, noting that:

  • Evidence should be emphasised as crucial and underpinning the whole framework. 
  • Prevention and promoting reuse were seen as complimentary to the core pillars
  • Impact is absent from the list and should be included as “effect” or ‘embedded
  • “Essentiality” should be replaced with a better word
  • “Equities” should be used rather than “equalities”, to reflect a wider spectrum of disparities including economic and socio-political marginalisation, alongside physical disability

DECISION: Panel members approved of the “five Es” approach subject to some amendments, but suggested that “pillars” could be more circular, with a “golden thread” or “iterative loops” approach.

8. The Panel noted that with limited resources, any policy framework produced should focus on an audience and niche not yet filled by existing toolkits and frameworks. Panel members proposed an infographic which clearly outlined the principles of curbing single-use items. Panel members suggested this could aim to complement, update and flesh out some of the considerations behind the Waste Hierarchy. The Panel noted that while the framework would mainly be aimed at policy makers, a well-produced model should explain the principles to any audience. Panel members also agreed that work had moved beyond plastic to a range of items with short lifespans and proposed to a working title of ‘a Framework for Action on Single Use Items’.

DECISION: The Panel agree policy makers would be the primary audience for the framework, but it should be designed in a way to be accessible by any audience.

9. Panel members suggested the final product could be modelled on the waste hierarchy with distilled principles and a range of case studies to reflect complex market opportunities. 

10. Panel members also suggested that the end product could refer to existing toolkits as additional resources that could provide more detail to the framework, but there would have to be some sort of audit to quality check the listed toolkits. 

DECISION: The Panel agree that an infographic supported by report and links to additional resources would be a good way to communicate the framework. 

11. Panel members were asked to suggest experts that could be invited to a discussion at the February or March meeting to help further develop the framework, for example as  representatives from a think tank or research and representatives from the retail sector. The Panel briefly discussed the best format for experts to present, and requested the Secretariat come up with more detailed engagement proposals ahead of the next meeting. 

Action point 1: Secretariat to coordinate with Panel Members in January to form a firm proposal for engagement in the February and March Meetings. 

Action point 2: Panel members to identify/contact contacts to bring in to a discussion in March, and contact any colleagues or relevant experts in their network. 

Action Point 3: Secretariat to produce a first full draft of the framework for the next meeting.

Action point 4: The Panel to agree a working title for the framework at a later meeting.

Agenda Item 4 - Update on Cups – SG Response & CE Bill (Paper 7.1)

12. Secretariat provided a brief update on the reception of the response and progress on Scottish Government actions to take forward the Panel’s recommendations on cups. 

Agenda Item 6 – Cabinet Secretary meets with the Panel

13. The Chair welcomed the Cabinet Secretary to the meeting.

14. The Cabinet Secretary thanked the Panel for their work to date and reflected on the progress made so far. She also reinforced the need for engagement with young people. The Panel expressed their continued intention for equity and inclusion to be considered at all stages of their work.

Agenda Item 7 – Next Steps summary

15. The Panel explored what the focus would be for their upcoming meetings, deciding that the February 2020 and March 2020 meeting would focus on hearing from a range of stakeholders to discuss and refine the toolkit 

Agenda Item 8 – AOB & date of next meetings

16. Arrangements have been made for a meeting on Monday 3 February 2020 at this venue (COSLA)

17. The Secretariat presented dates for the remainder of the Panel’s time, up to Summer 2020, and would confirm timings over email. 

Monday 3 February
Timings TBC | COSLA

To note: This may be a longer meeting if the Panel want to hear presentations from several experts as well as discuss the first draft of the policy framework. 

Monday 23 March
10:00 - 15:00 | COSLA

Monday 1 June – Final Meeting
12:00-15:30 | COSLA

Action point 5: Secretariat to confirm date and time for all forthcoming meetings. 

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