Waste firm Biffa start £150m court action against Scots Government over bungled bottle return scheme

A WASTE firm has pointed the finger at axed Green Party minister Lorna Slater for them suffering a £150million loss over the failed bottle recycling scheme.

Biffa has now launched an action against the Scottish Government to recoup the cash in the Court of Session and has named her in their legal claim.

The recycling firm is seeking compensation for the money they invested in the collapsed Deposit Return Scheme and the subsequent loss of profit.

The Scottish Government has been accused of misrepresenting the scheme when it assured Biffa it would go ahead.

It is understood that Biffa relied on personal assurances from Slater as a reason to invest £55m in vehicles and equipment to prepare for the DRS, before she scrapped it in June 2023.

A source said Biffa agreed to the contract “on the written assurances of Lorna Slater about the deliverability of the scheme, and the Scottish Government’s commitment to doing it”.

They said that the recycling firm believes the Scottish Government “negligently misrepresented the assurance it gave” and “made no reference to any outstanding need to seek UK Internal Market Act approval.

Slater has refused to take responsibility for the scheme’s failure and instead blamed the UK Government and neither her nor the Scottish Greens refused to comment when approached by us.

Firms had raised concerns about a Scotland-only scheme before the UK Government’s intervention.

The DRS was supposed to boost recycling by charging a 20p deposit on every drinks container, which would be refunded through an empties return.

Biffa was appointed to collect all the recycled containers across Scotland on a 10-year deal, with the firm expecting to make more than £100m profit.

The Sunday Mail understands Biffa is seeking not only a return of its £55m but also compensation for the lost profits.

A spokeswoman for Biffa said: “We can confirm we are taking legal action to seek appropriate compensation for the losses Biffa has incurred.

Fergus Ewing, SNP MSP for Inverness and Nairn, has blasted the DRS. The former minister is pressing for an urgent statement in

He said the taxpayer now faces an "eyewatering" loss if the recycling firm win the legal case, and criticised Slater for failing to take any responsibility.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government can’t comment on ongoing litigation.”

Slater did not respond when contacted by the Sunday Mail. The Scottish Greens also refused to comment.

Don't miss the latest news from around Scotland and beyond - Sign up to our daily newsletter here.