The Scottish authorities is delaying its deposit return scheme for greater than two years after accusing UK authorities ministers of intentionally sabotaging its plans.
Lorna Slater, the Scottish Greens minister, mentioned on Wednesday afternoon the current choice by ministers in London to bar the Scottish authorities from together with glass in its scheme meant it was now not possible in its present type.
She mentioned the ban on together with glass was supposed to undermine Scotland’s scheme, although it had been endorsed in 2020 by each occasion at Holyrood together with the Conservatives, and to weaken the powers of Scotland’s devolved parliament.
Ministers in London had additionally imposed an as-yet-undefined cap on deposit costs, at the moment set at 20p in Scotland, a single administration price for all companies throughout the UK, and one UK-wide barcode on affected merchandise, she mentioned.
“These delays and dilutions lie squarely within the arms of a UK authorities that has sadly appeared so much more intent on sabotaging this parliament than defending our surroundings,” Slater advised MSPs.
She mentioned the Scottish authorities subsequently had determined to droop its scheme till England, Wales and Northern Eire launched theirs from October 2025. A Scottish authorities supply mentioned they hoped an incoming Labour authorities may determine to reinstate glass after the subsequent basic election.
Scottish ministers had wished their scheme to start in March 2024. However underneath the UK’s post-Brexit inner market guidelines, designed to minimise commerce obstacles inside the UK, they wanted permission from Westminster to introduce a compulsory deposit and completely different barcodes.
Campaigners who assist deposit return schemes, extensively utilized in different European nations, mentioned excluding glass on price grounds will considerably scale back the quantity of glass being recycled and improve carbon emissions.
They mentioned the delay would imply thousands and thousands of plastic and glass bottles and aluminium cans would now litter Scottish streets, fields and seashores.
Dr Kat Jones, the director of Motion to Shield Rural Scotland, which has campaigned for the scheme, mentioned: “It is a bleak day for anybody who cares about Scotland’s litter disaster, or certainly the worldwide local weather disaster. [It] is a victory for these in trade who’ve by no means wished to select up the prices of their irresponsible enterprise mannequin.”
Slater’s announcement, which had been signalled earlier this week by Humza Yousaf, the primary minister, follows an growing bitter dispute inside Scotland concerning the effectiveness and prices of the scheme, which has already been delayed thrice and repeatedly revised.
It was closely attacked by two candidates to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as Scottish Nationwide occasion chief earlier this 12 months, together with Kate Forbes, who narrowly misplaced the competition to Yousaf. Craft brewers, small store house owners, small delicate drinks makers and whisky producers had additionally strongly criticised it.
Maurice Golden, for the Scottish Tories, mentioned the Scottish authorities’s “disastrous scheme” had already failed “lengthy earlier than the intervention of the UK authorities”.
Accusing Slater of utilizing the UK authorities choice as an excuse to cowl up her personal failings, Golden mentioned the 2 companies that may run the scheme had each urged the Scottish authorities to proceed with it.
Biffa, the waste and recycling contractor that may deal with the billions of cans and bottles concerned within the Scottish scheme, and Circularity Scotland, the agency arrange by trade to supervise it, mentioned earlier this week it may proceed with out glass, with some alterations.
Biffa had warned a delay would ship a “seismic and detrimental sign” to the companies that backed the scheme and threatened the Scottish authorities’s popularity as a “legislator that may be relied upon”.
Sarah Boyack, for Scottish Labour, mentioned: “Scotland is paying the value for 2 unhealthy governments, each of whom appear extra desirous about a constitutional battle quite than constructive work with one another.”