THE minimum cost of carrier bags in Scotland is set to rise to 10 pence from April 1.

Announcing the move, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said it was important to increase the charge periodically to ensure it deters people from buying bags instead of utilising reusable options.

Some retailers have also pledged to donate their carrier bag charges to good causes.

The five pence charge was introduced in 2014, with plastic bag usage dropping by 80% the following year.

The Marine Conservation Society also noted the number of bags found on beaches dropped by 40% each year for the two years after the charge was introduced – reaching 42% between 2018 and 2019.

Cunningham said: “Thanks to the people of Scotland, the introduction of the charge has been successful in reducing the amount of single-use carrier bags in circulation.

“It has also made us think about the small steps we can all take to help the environment.

“While the five pence bag charge was suitable when it was first introduced, it is important that pricing is updated to ensure that the charge continues to be a factor in making people think twice about using a single-use carrier bag.

“The Scottish Government is committed to building back a greener society so by further reducing our reliance on single-use items, we are taking positive steps to limit our impact on the climate and the environment.”