A DISABILITY rights group has demanded a pause on the drive to end plastic straw use in Scotland.

One in Five wrote to MSP Kate Forbes, who is behind the campaign, saying organisations were “racing ahead” to phase out plastic straws without fully considering the needs of disabled people.

The group has contacted 10 firms and bodies backing the Final Straw campaign, and in response five of these have agreed to keep a small supply available.

Forbes said she would be willing to meet with the group to discuss their concerns.

The group’s letter said: “Most paper and plant-based alternatives are not flexible or suitable for drinks over 40°C, therefore increasing the risks of choking.

“Metal straws can be dangerous for people with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, whereas reusable plastic straws present hygiene concerns to people with specific health conditions.”

One in Five founder Jamie Szymkowiak added: “Businesses are understandably responding to environmental concerns, but in reacting so quickly the needs of their disabled customers risk becoming an afterthought.”

TGI Fridays, Northlink Ferries, Celtic FC, CalMac and Starbucks all agreed to make a small number of plastic straws available for disabled customers.

Other organisations contacted that said they would look into the matter, were Cineworld, Hampden Park, Caffe Nero and the Scottish Parliament. Scotrail confirmed that it was withdrawing plastic straws.

Responding to the group, Forbes said: “In my meetings with businesses we have always discussed what alternatives they will provide to customers who need a straw to drink.

“No change should put greater burdens on people with disabilities or those who need to use straws.”

One in Five praised the the Scottish Government’s move to appoint a disability adviser to its expert panel, aimed at preventing adverse impacts from changes on legislation dealing with issues such as plastic straw use.