ENVIRONMENT: Lorna Slater’s Deposit Return Scheme branded ‘unlawful’

Lord Young has ruled Circularity Scotland did not have the power to impose retail handler fees

lorna slater recycling
Lorna Slater has been criticised for her handling of the Deposit Return Scheme

By Democrat reporters

The Scottish Daily Express is reporting that Lorna Slater’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) “lies in tatters” after an independent retailer won a judicial review against the project. T

The SNP government has already kicked the scheme into the long grass until a UK-wide one is implemented.

But it is now effectively dead in its current form after a Court of Session judge sided with Abdul Majid MBE, who owns shops in Lanarkshire.

In a written judgement released on Friday, Lord Drummond Young, pictured left at an event Bishop Joseph Toal,  backed Mr Majid’s argument that it had not been legal for Circularity Scotland Limited (CSL) to set the retail handler fees (RHF) for the scheme.

Reacting to the news, the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) chief executive Dr Pete Cheema OBE said the decision “has held that the way that the Scottish Government and Circularity Scotland had set up the Deposit Return Scheme was unlawful”. He added “This decision essentially stops the DRS progressing in its current form.

“It’s hugely disappointing however that it took a court action by an independent retailer when SGF had tried for some considerable time to make the Scottish Government listen to those directly affected – indeed, we had personally informed Lorna Slater that CSL was breaching its license but she refused to support us when it was obvious that we were right. Also, we had warned the Scottish Government that it was never industry-led.

“Despite representing the largest number of Return Point Operators, our voice was consistently not listened to. SGF is hopeful that the UK Government will make this legal position binding when they introduce the UK-wide DRS scheme in October 2025.”

Mr Majid said: “I am absolutely delighted to have won my case, one which I feel in many ways was not just for myself but for the many other retailers who would have been negatively impacted if CSL had been able to proceed with their plans for the setting of the retail handling fee. From the outset it was clear that there was an issue over the legality of the retailer handling fees but it is not as if this was not pointed out to them.”

The review had sought to determine whether CSL was entitled to set the RHF payable under the DRS and “what factors must be taken into account in setting this fee”. CSL announced in May 2022 it has “reached a determination on the value of the RHF” which had been calculated by an independent body.

Mr Majid argued regulations set out in 2020 did not give CSL the power to determine the RHF and if it did, it should be based on the costs to individual retailers. He argued his business would lose £1,000 a month under the fees set by CSL.

In its submission, CSL argued there was a “general principle” that an independent entity would calculate the costs on its behalf when members signed up to the scheme. Lord Young agreed with Mr Majid on both his arguments.

CSL, which has gone into administration after Ms Slater and Humza Yousaf ditched the scheme, and the Scottish Government have been approached for comment. Ms Slater had accused the UK Government of ‘torpedoing’ the scheme after Scottish Secretary Alister Jack had granted an Internal Market Exemption but only if glass was ditched.

Meanwhile, former SNP leadership hopeful Kate Forbes, left,  has refused to back the Scottish Greens in government as she blasted those she thinks are guilty of “stupid politicking”. She refused to name who she was referring to, instead just saying everyone would “think immediately of examples”.

It comes after the SNP government delayed its Highly Protected Marine Area plan, something that was seen as a red line for the Greens during the bitter leadership contest. The prospect of Ms Forbes becoming first minister had put the Bute House Agreement in doubt due to some of her pro-business and social views.

Humza Yousaf’s eventual victory secured the Greens’ place but their presence at the table remains a sticking point with many SNP politicians. Ms Forbes is seen as the leader of a rebel faction within the party even if she herself has tried to play down that suggestion and has looked to back Mr Yousaf.

But in a sign her views on the Greens haven’t changed, she dodged the question when asked if you would be “sad” if the Bute House Agreement came to an end. Asked by Good Morning Scotland host Martin Geissler, she responded: “It seems like you’re running some of the leadership contest questions.”

“What I care more than anything else is policies that deliver. Now this policy [HPMAs], my concerns about this policy, which was the result of the Bute House Agreement, are well documented. So I am pleased that it has been ditched yesterday.”

  • Last evening I went to use the bottle bank at Morrisons car park in Dumbarton. It was full to overflowing and broken glass was scattered all around the facility. Editor

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