Recycling call

Greens turn up pressure on PM to back DRS

Mark Ruskell
Mark Ruskell: DRS is already creating hundreds of jobs

Environmental lobby groups are going head-to-head with drinks businesses and retailers over Scotland’s stalled recycling project.

A number of green groups including Greenpeace UK, Keep Britain Tidy and the Marine Conservation Society, have issued a joint call to the Prime Minister to approve Scotland’s troubled deposit return scheme (DRS).

The Scottish Government’s scheme requires an exemption to the Internal Market Act that the UK Government introduced to provide a level playing for trade following Britain’s exit from the EU.

The SNP-Green administration has said that the scheme may have to be scrapped unless it gains approval by the end of this month. The deadline has alarmed drinks producers who have spent millions installing equipment and hiring staff, while other firms – many of them small traders – say the scheme continues to have major flaws.

The Scottish Greens environment spokesperson, Mark Ruskell, today said DRS was “a positive, ambitious and much-needed scheme that can revolutionise our relationship with waste”.

He added: “It is already creating hundreds of jobs here and now and can serve as a beacon for environmental change in the UK and beyond.

“It’s a scheme that we are very proud of and, particularly with the inclusion of glass, it will put Scotland in line with the successful schemes across Europe and go far further than what is being proposed by the UK government.

“With so many leading environmental groups having come together to call for Downing Street to intervene and grant the required exemption, it is clear that there is a growing demand for action. I urge the Prime Minister to listen.”

Mr Ruskell regretted the issue had become a constitutional matter, but warned that inaction would be a huge cost to the environment and those who had signed up to the scheme.

“The days and weeks ahead will be decisive,” he said. “We cannot allow our climate to be treated like a political football. It is far too important for that. 

“Unless the UK government acts then the consequences for devolution will be severe, but the impact on our environment and the businesses who have signed up and started making preparations will be even worse. 

“There are no second chances when it comes to climate action. We will only ever have one environment, we must do everything we can to protect it.”

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