A CHARGE will be applied on single-use drinks cups in Scotland under proposed new legislation.

The move will be brought forward in the Scottish Government’s Circular Economy Bill, with the level of the charge to be set following a consultation and approval by Holyrood.

If passed, the charge could then in future be applied to other items proven to cause environmental harm.

The propopsal of a charge follows recommendations from an expert panel set up to advise how Scotland can reduce the use of single-use cups.

A charge of around 20p was suggested by the panel.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said a “fundamental rethink” is needed for Scotland to meet its climate ambitions of becoming a net-zero nation by 2045.

She said: “The scale of the challenge is clear – an estimated 4000 tonnes of waste is generated by single-use cups each year, wasting valuable raw materials and generating unnecessary CO2 emissions in the process.

“For Scotland to become a net-zero society, we need a fundamental re-think about how we use and reuse materials and how we handle waste. That is why I am proposing further bold action to tackle Scotland’s reliance on single-use items. Our approach must involve a joined-up effort across government, business, communities and individuals.”

Scottish LibDem environment spokeswoman Rebecca Bell said the introduction of a charge should be the start of an assault on plastic waste.

She said: “Scottish Liberal Democrats have been calling for a ‘latte levy’ for some time so this is a step in the right direction.

“We have seen with the plastic bag tax that measures like this are extremely effective at cutting the enormous amount of waste we generate.”