DAME Sue Bruce has been appointed to lead a panel of experts from retail, the waste and chemical industries, the public sector and academia to combat plastic pollution in Scotland.

The Scottish Government panel will research the problem and provide advice on dealing with disposable cups and plastic straws.

Bruce, the current Electoral Commissioner and former chief executive of Edinburgh Council,will be joined on the expert panel on environmental charges and other measures by behavioural expert professor Theresa Marteau, economy professor Liam Delaney and Mike Barry, the director of sustainable business at Marks and Spencer. Roger Kilburn from the biotech and chemical industry, professor Margaret Bates from the waste industry and legal expert, professor Aileen McHarg, will also join them.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency chief executive Terry A’Hearn, Zero Waste Scotland chief executive Iain Gulland and disability adviser Professor Kate Sang will provide additional support. A 2050 Climate Group representative, meanwhile, will represent the opinions of young people.

Announced in the 2017-18 programme for government, the expert panel is an advisory group being established to provide advice to Scottish ministers on charges or other measures which may be adopted in Scotland within devolved competence, with the goal of encouraging the long-term and sustainable changes in consumer and producer behaviour required to transition to a circular economy.

To fulfil this remit, the group will have an initial working life of two years.

Environment Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “Scotland has demonstrated leadership in tackling plastic pollution. We were the first country in the UK to commit to introducing a deposit return scheme and we are currently consulting on proposals to ban the manufacture and sale of plastic-stemmed cotton buds, one of the items most commonly found on our beaches.

“The creation of our expert panel is an important step towards seriously addressing this issue in Scotland. The panel’s expertise and skills from across waste, legal, retail and public sectors as well providing a voice for young people and disabled people, will help us identify the bold actions we can take in Scotland to encourage long-term, sustainable changes in consumer and producer behaviour.”

Bruce said: “I am very much looking forward to working with the expert panel in this important and fascinating work. Not one of us can have failed to be shocked by the coverage in recent months of the state of plastic pollution on our land and in our seas.

“The panel will be asking questions about what we can do together in Scotland – as consumers, communities, producers, retailers and government – to radically change our attitudes and our use of single-use items.”

Meanwhile, the arch-Brexiteer Michael Gove has sounded an almost conciliatory note in his announcement of a plan to consult on the setting up of a post-Brexit environmental law with an independent watchdog.

His press release stated: “We are exploring with the devolved administrations whether they wish to take a similar approach. We would welcome the opportunity to co-design proposals with them to ensure they work across the whole UK.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We have been expecting this consultation for some time. It relates only to proposals for England and for reserved UK matters.

“In Scotland, the Roundtable on Environment and Climate Change has prepared advice on environmental governance which will be published shortly, and Scottish ministers will consult on environmental governance and on environmental principles later this year.”