ENVIRONMENT: Lorna Slater says bottle scheme could be AXED

Greens minister Lorna Fraser is claiming her ‘unworkable’ bottle recycling plan may be ‘unviable’ but she’s been accused for trying to ‘pass the buck to Westminster. Now the Scottish Greens co-leader’s beloved scheme could be binned.

By Bill Heaney

She is so keen on it, you would think she was the person who first thought about the idea of the Deposit Return Scheme – otherwise known as getting money back on the bottle.

Those of us who lived through era of ice cream vans, bottles of ginger, pokey hats  and double nougats know different.

“Geez a slug o’ yer ginger” or “nae floaters mind” and “can I take the bottle back, Billy” have happy memories of the days when the sun was splitting the cossies and it was so warm that the tar was melting on the streets outside.

And anyone with any common sense in their head knew that the whole business of introducing a viable deposit return scheme for bottles and cans in the 21st century was as likely as me giving you a lick of my wafer.

And that’s just what’s happening now.

Scotland’s controversial deposit return scheme could be axed by the end of the month with Lorna Slater MSP citing concern over their failure to get the go ahead from the UK Government.

The Green Party Co-leader has said First Minister Humza Yousaf has written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to set a deadline for a decision on an exemption to the Internal Markets Act (IMA), without which, she says the flagship recycling plans cannot go ahead.

They always find someone else blame these politicians, however.However, there were ongoing disputes around when an official application was and eventually it was confirmed but much later than planned.

The Greens’ minister blamed attendees at the Scottish Grocers’ Federation conference for a lack of response, but the UK Ministers say the normal process is underway.

However it could mean the scheme is “unviable” and would have to be shelved.

Circular economy minister Slater said she had hoped to receive the exemption by April 17, but Scottish ministers are yet to be granted clearance for its launch – which has already been pushed back from August 2023 to March 2024.

“By the end of May, we’ll know one way or another”, she said.

Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden said: “It defies belief that, after her staggering mishandling of this scheme has led to its delay, Lorna Slater should still be trying to pass the buck to Westminster.

“The reality is that her version of DRS had to be paused because there were so many unanswered questions and legitimate concerns. She and the SNP-Green Government should be accepting responsibility, making amends, and completely rethinking so that we can have a scheme that actually delivers.”

Ms Slater also admitted “uncertainty” over when the roll-out would be approved could see it canned altogether in its current state.

“The First Minister wrote to the Prime Minister last week, setting a deadline at the end of May,” she told the conference.

“So if we haven’t heard from them by the end of May, because of the concerns around the viability of the scheme going forward, we will have to make a proactive decision at that point as to whether the scene is viable or not to move forward.

“I can’t say exactly how that’s going to fall out. We’re still working very closely with the UK government to make that happen.

“You know, this is now at as high as you can go, this is the First Minister talking directly to the Prime Minister about this. It’s at the highest possible level. So I’m hoping to find out urgently.”

She added: “By the end of May, we’ll know one way or another.”

So, it’s a case of May-bes aye, Maybes naw for the ill thought out DRS – Deposit Return Scheme.

I’m having American cream soda. Would you fancy a Tizer or Dandelion and Burdock? Nae floaters mind.

Deposit return scheme was said to be a solution for this – overflowing bins in the car park at St James Retail Park in Dumbarton.


One comment

  1. Scotland was ahead of England in the launch of this.

    The advantage of this was that Scotland in advance of England would being early have set up a recycling uplift infrastructure to handle the recyclate waste streams.

    But the Tories in Westminster couldn’t allow that. There’s big bucks in recycling and Westminster and their chums want to corner it.

    Scotland setting up an arms length state owned waste stream handling business mist certainly could be allowed.

    A bit like Scotland today trying to set up a state owned arms length Water Company or a state owned Power Company, or an NHS it just couldn’t be allowed.

    The scheme will be back but it will be a UK scheme.

    Just another Tory knife into Scotland whilst the local Jockistani ya boo political pygmies squabble and miss the real issue.

    More privatisation Cyril.

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