Bottle return scheme 'should be UK-wide'

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image captionShoppers may pay a refundable extra fee when buying single-use drinks

Environment ministers throughout the UK have been asked to come up with a coordinated bottle return scheme.

Scotland's environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham has invited them to a summit to discuss the issue.

Ms Cunningham said it was an area in which working together across the UK would deliver "greater benefits".

The Scottish government committed itself in September to introducing a scheme and the UK government announced its own consultation earlier this week.

Ms Cunningham has written to UK environment secretary Michael Gove, Welsh environment minister Hannah Blythyn and Northern Ireland civil service head David Sterling, inviting them to a summit in Scotland to "develop an ambitious and coordinated approach to deposit return schemes for drinks containers".

She said: "Our work over the last six months to develop design options has built on the expertise and experience built over some time in Scotland and I believe we have a great deal of knowledge to share.

"While Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have devolved responsibility for the environment, there are likely to be areas where working together offers the opportunity to deliver greater benefits across the nations of the UK.

"The time is now right for Environment Ministers, and senior officials in Northern Ireland, to come together to ensure we realise those opportunities."

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