Furious Slater blasts UK Government as they attach 'unjustifiable' conditions to DRS

Furious Slater blasts UK Government as they attach 'unjustifiable' conditions to DRS <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Furious Slater blasts UK Government as they attach 'unjustifiable' conditions to DRS (Image: PA)

LORNA Slater has accused the UK Government of showing "utter disregard for devolution" over reports that they will only allow the Deposit Return Scheme to go ahead with a number of conditions.

According to reports on Friday morning, the necessary exemption for the Internal Market Act will only be granted if the Scottish Government exclude glass from the DRS, and agree to standardise the deposit charge, bar codes and labelling across the UK.

READ MORE: Jack accused of lying to MPs over DRS row with Scottish Government

The BBC report that the UK government will also insist on a reciprocal membership system so that businesses that join in any of the four nations are automatically signed up across all of them.

The Internal Mark Act was brought in after Brexit to try and ensure frictionless trade across the different nations of the UK.

Because Scotland’s scheme would come in before similar initiatives in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it could ultimately create a trade barrier, and requires an exemption.

Ms Slater has previously warned that without a decision by the end of the month, the scheme may not be viable.

There has been a long running dispute between UK and Scottish ministers over when this was first requested.

The scheme would see each single-use item carry a levy of 20p, which would be refunded when the empty container was returned to retailers.

It was supposed to launch in August but has been put back until next year.

READ MORE: Campaigners stage Deposit Return Scheme protest outside Tesco

In a statement released on Friday, Ms Slater said the Scottish Government had learned of the conditions attached to the DRS through the media.

She said: “Once again the UK Government has shown utter disregard for devolution. Scottish ministers have, as yet, received no notice of their decision. This is treating the Scottish Parliament with contempt.

“If press reports are accurate, this would be an eleventh hour decision from the UK Government to unilaterally remove glass from Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme which would ride roughshod over the devolution settlement, undermine our efforts to protect our environment and reduce climate emissions.

“We can see no justification for their reported actions, which would undermine their own climate targets.

“It would mean around six hundred million bottles that would have been collected by the scheme, will not be, despite businesses in Scotland having invested millions of pounds in preparation to include them.

“If this decision turns out as reported, many of these bottles would unnecessarily end up as broken glass on our streets, our parks and our beaches.”

Earlier this week, Rishi Sunak said the Scottish Government should 'reconsider' the DRS.

The UK Government has been approached for comment.