Responsibility for environmental issues is devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
The Scottish Government is working hard to protect Scotland’s natural environment, and by working with others, address the environmental damage caused by microplastics.
Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced in December that Scotland will introduce legislation regulating the use of microbeads. In Scotland we have already been undertaking research on this issue, raising awareness amongst consumers, and encouraging the use of alternatives. The Scottish Government are working with the UK Government, Welsh Government and others on a consultation on what the scope of this ban should be, and that consultation closed earlier this week.
Marine litter costs Scotland £16.8 million every year, and impacts on our environment, wildlife, industry and tourism. The SNP Scottish Government has prioritised action to protect Scotland’s marine environment and in August 2014, we launched Scotland’s first ever Marine Litter Strategy. A Marine Litter Strategy for Scotland details almost 40 new actions to minimise coastal and marine litter. A key action of the strategy is to encourage alternatives to plastic microbeads in personal care products.
My SNP colleague John McNally MP, who sits on the Environmental Audit Committee, has taken a number of actions on this issue. I am aware that John has been working with a range of Scottish charities to help promote their initiatives to eliminate microplastics from consumer products, and has made a number of helpful contributions on the Environmental Audit Committee to ensure that the UK Government and others are pressed to take action on this issue.