Publication - Impact assessment

The Single Use Carrier Bags (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021: business and regulatory impact assessment

Published: 13 Jan 2021
Directorate:
Environment and Forestry Directorate
Part of:
Environment and climate change
ISBN:
9781800045385

Final Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) for proposed changes to the Single Use Carrier Bags (Scotland) Regulations 2021.

The Single Use Carrier Bags (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2021: business and regulatory impact assessment
3.0 Consultation

3.0 Consultation 

3.1 Consultation Within Government

20. This assessment has been completed with input from Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Service and has been shared with colleagues in Enterprise Directorate.

3.2 Public Consultation

21. The Scottish Government put forward the proposal to increase the minimum SUCB charge from 5p to 10p in section 6 of a consultation on developing Scotland's circular economy.[26] The consultation was launched on 7 November 2019 and submissions were received until 19 December 2019. 

22. Questions and answer possibilities related to the SUCB charge included: 

Q20: Do you agree with the proposal to increase the minimum charge on single-use carrier bags from 5p to 10p?

A) Yes

B) No

C) Neither agree nor disagree

Q21: Do you agree that the initial 5p minimum charge on single-use carrier bags has had a positive impact on the environment?

A) Yes

B) No

C) Neither agree nor disagree

A general question was also included which allowed respondents to provide further information, if required.

23. In total, 382 responses were received for Q20. The analysis of responses reveals that a large majority (80%) of respondents agreed with the proposal to increase the SUCB charge from 5p to 10p.[27]  Food, drink, hospitality, tourism and retail organisations were 50% in favour of the proposal and only 6% answered ‘no’ to this question. Individuals were more likely than organisations to answer ‘yes’ to this question (88% and 64%, respectively). Respondents who did not answer ‘yes’ to the question were more likely to say ‘neither agree nor disagree’ rather than ‘no’. The breakdown by respondent type is as follows:

Table 1: Q20 – Do you agree with the proposal to increase the minimum charge on single-use carrier bags from 5p to 10p?
Organisation type Yes No Neither agree nor disagree Total
n % n % n % n %
Environmental charities, third sector and community sector organisations 23 82% 2 7% 3 11% 28 100%
Public sector organisations  21 84% - 0% 4 16% 25 100%
Food, drink, hospitality, tourism and retail organisations 9 50% 1 6% 8 44% 18 100%
Environmental consultancies & resource management organisations  12 71% - 0% 5 29% 17 100%
Academic and professional bodies and business representative bodies  9 82% - 0% 2 18% 11 100%
Packaging and other manufacturing organisations  2 20% - 0% 8 80% 10 100%
Beverage and vending companies  1 8% - 0% 11 92% 12 100%
Total organisations  77 64% 3 2% 41 34% 121 100%
Total individuals  229 88% 14 5% 18 7% 261 100%
Total organisations and individuals  306 80% 17 4% 59 15% 382 100%

24. In addition, 1,244 individuals who submitted responses through the Friends of the Earth Scotland campaign stated that they fully supported the Scottish Government’s proposal to ‘increase the minimum single-use carrier bag charge from 5p to 10p’. It may be inferred that these individuals have answered ‘yes’ to Question 20.

25. In total, 381 responses were received for Q21. The analysis of responses reveals that a large majority of respondents (80%) agreed that the initial 5p minimum SUCB charge had a positive impact on the environment.[28] Individuals were more likely than organisations to answer ‘yes’ (86% and 67%, respectively). Among both groups, respondents who did not answer ‘yes’ were more likely to say ‘neither agree nor disagree’ rather than ‘no’. 

Table 2: Q21 – Do you agree that the initial 5p minimum charge on single-use carrier bags has had a positive impact on the environment? 
Organisation type Yes No Neither agree nor disagree Total
n % n % n % n %
Environmental charities, third sector and community sector organisations 23 82% - 0% 5 18% 28 100%
Public sector organisations  23 92% - 0% 2 8% 25 100%
Food, drink, hospitality, tourism and retail organisations 13 72% 1 6% 4 22% 18 100%
Environmental consultancies & resource management organisations  10 59% 2 12% 5 29% 17 100%
Academic and professional bodies and business representative bodies  9 90% - 0% 1 10% 10 100%
Packaging and other manufacturing organisations  1 10% 3 30% 6 60% 10 100%
Beverage and vending companies  1 8% - 0% 11 92% 12 100%
Total organisations  80 67% 6 5% 34 28% 120 100%
Total individuals  225 86% 14 5% 22 8% 261 100%
Total organisations and individuals  305 80% 20 5% 56 15% 381 100%

26. In response to the request for further comments on the proposal, respondents made a number of points. First, it was pointed out that the introduction of a 5p minimum SUCB charge had indeed resulted in a reduction in their use. However, it was also noted that (i) substantial numbers of SUCBs continued to be purchased by consumers, and (ii) there had been a large increase in the purchase of bags for life, which were, in the view of some respondents, generally not appropriate alternatives to SUCBs, being often made of plastic. Respondents who raised this issue wanted to see a legal ban on all plastic bags.

3.3 Business Consultation

27. The consultation with businesses was two-fold: Through the public consultation in November 2019 and through a questionnaire sent out in October 2020. 

28. The public consultation received 121 responses from organisations to Q20 and 120 responses from organisations to Q21. It is not clear how many of these organisations were businesses. 

29. A questionnaire to determine the impact of the SUCB charge increase on Scottish businesses was sent out to 23 businesses and business associations, with responses collected between 7 and 21 October 2020. Please see Appendix A for the full questionnaire. 

30. Businesses contacted included: 

  • Scottish Enterprise
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Scottish Grocers Federation
  • Scottish Retail Consortium
  • Food and Drink Federation Scotland
  • Scottish Wholesale Association
  • Federation of Small Businesses
  • Association of Convenience Stores
  • Viridor Waste Management Ltd
  • Binn Group Ltd
  • British Plastics Federation
  • Aldi UK/IRE
  • Asda
  • Boots UK 
  • Iceland Foods Ltd
  • Lidl
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Morrisons Plc
  • Sainsburys 
  • Scotmid
  • Waitrose and Partners 
  • WH Smith
  • The Cooperative

31. Business response was very low. Of the 23 businesses and business associations, responses to the questionnaire were received from only 2 organisations: the Federation of Small Businesses and Asda. Another response, provided separately from the questionnaire, was received from The Cooperative with regard to the effect of the 5p minimum charge and its proposed increase on the sale of BfLs. 

32. The results of the consultation with businesses will be summarised in the Competition Assessment and Scottish Firms Impact Test sections. 


Contact

Email: circulareconomy@gov.scot