Defiant message

Innis & Gunn boss: ‘I will not register for DRS’

Dougal Sharp at Ashton Lane Beer Kitchen
Dougal Sharp: scheme is unworkable

Brewer Dougal Sharp, who has been among the most vocal critics of the Scottish government’s bottle and can recycling policy, has defied Circularity minister Lorna Slater and decided not to register for the scheme.

The decision by Mr Sharp, founder and master brewer at Innis & Gunn, is likely to have wide implications across the industry.

Earlier today, Ms Slater urged all drinks producers to register for the deposit return scheme by today’s deadline, saying it would be a ‘kick in the teeth’ to those who spent millions preparing for the its introduction in August.

But Mr Sharp said he had been advised the scheme is illegal and unworkable in its current form.

“Innis & Gunn’s position is very clear on DRS. We are 100% behind action on climate change but we have been advised from the highest levels that we should not sign the producer’s agreement on the basis that the Deposit Return Scheme is unworkable in its current format,” he said.  

“No UK Government approval UKIMA opt-out has been, or will be, granted therefore this scheme is illegal and will not be permitted to go ahead.

“None of the leadership candidates are in support of it because the Scottish Government has not sought the required approvals from Westminster. DRS will effectively create a trade barrier with the rest of the UK. 

“Yes, we have invested huge amounts of money into planning for the Scheme but it’s just not workable and doomed to failure in its current format. There are just too many changes and unanswered questions and we cannot take the risk of signing a contract with a separate legal entity to the Scottish Government.

“I would not be acting in our shareholders best interests in signing this agreement as it stands. The penalties of the scheme not going ahead on 16 August will cripple many businesses including ours. 

“We have already put forward clear proposals for an alternative to the scheme that would be simpler, cheaper, quicker and deliver higher levels of recycling than DRS proposes. 

“Do we really need to wait until the two Governments agree how to proceed? We can move quicker if we look at alternatives, as many other countries have, to get our recovery rates beyond 90%.”

See also: Green MSP accused of mocking brewer over DRS fears

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