SCOTLAND'S single-use plastics ban is to become fully effective after the UK Government opted to exempt it from the Internal Market Act.

The controversial legislation was designed to manage regulatory divergence between the countries of the UK but has been criticised as a “power grab” by devolved administrations.

Under the terms of the act, businesses in Scotland were allowed to provide banned items which originated elsewhere in the UK.

READ MORE: Scotland bans 'problematic' single-use plastics in UK first

But the change – which takes effect on August 12 – means it will be an offence to supply plastic goods such as cutlery, straws, cups and food containers.

Scotland’s circular economy minister Lorna Slater (below) said: “Banning many of the most problematic single-use plastic items in Scotland is an important step in the fight against waste.

“By choosing reusable alternatives we can all help decrease litter and cut emissions.

The National:

“Protecting Scotland’s environment is a devolved matter and decisions like this should be ours to make.

“It is wholly unacceptable that this was put at risk by the UK Internal Market Act, which the UK Government imposed without our consent.

“While it is frustrating that the UK Government did not act in time, today’s action will provide certainty to businesses and consumers.

“I look forward to seeing businesses all across Scotland make the switch to sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics.”

A spokesman for the UK Government said: “The UK Internal Market Act (UKIM) protects businesses across the UK, ensuring everyone can sell their products across the whole country.

“We’ve already introduced a significant ban on single-use plastics – and will go much further by introducing consistent recycling and a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.

“The UKIM exclusion being introduced recognises our shared ambition to tackle plastic pollution while maintaining certainty for businesses and consumers.”