54% 'Support Carrier Bag Charges'

Support for mandatory charging for carrier bags is backed by the majority of the public, a new poll has revealed.

Charity Keep Scotland Beautiful published the results to coincide with the launch of its campaign on the issue and ahead of discussions about charging regulations at Holyrood.

In the YouGov poll of 1,037 Scottish adults, those supporting the proposals to charge for bags outnumbered those opposing them by 54% to 28%.

The results show 22% strongly support the proposals, 32% tend to support them, while 14% tend to oppose them and 14% strongly oppose them. A further 14% neither support or oppose them and the remainder do not know.

The Scottish Government wants to bring in mandatory charging for almost all single-use carrier bags from October 2014.

Shoppers will have to pay a minimum of 5p per bag, with net proceeds to be donated to good causes.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead is due to give evidence on the proposed regulations at Holyrood's Environment Committee, which will recommend to Parliament whether they should be approved.

Mark Bevan, head of campaigns at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: "The introduction of the charge in Scotland has the potential to make a real difference to levels of litter on the streets of Scotland, a problem identified by the hundreds of thousands volunteers who are helping our Clean Up Scotland Campaign. Scotland has a litter problem, and these regulations could help significantly.''

He added: "The benefit to the country in reduced litter is a major driver for these regulations - and the awarding of the proceeds should make that clear.

"If the levy proceeds are awarded to Scottish-only charities, making a link between the Scottish Government's litter strategy and local environmental action, then public support for this measure will grow further.''