Ex-minister named

Waste firm Biffa lodges claim over failed recycling plan

Lorna Slater
Lorna Slater scrapped the DRS last year

A waste management firm has launched its promised legal action against the Scottish government over the failed bottle and can recycling scheme.

Biffa is said to be claiming compensation of up to £150 million after the deposit return scheme (DRS) was scrapped last year following a dispute with the UK Government.

The DRS aimed to raise recycling levels by charging a 20p deposit on every drinks container, which would be reclaimed when they were returned.

The company was appointed to collect all the recycled containers across Scotland on a 10-year deal. Biffa invested heavily in preparing for the contract and assurances were given that it would be going ahead.

It first indicated it was considering legal action in April when it said it had lost “a ­significant amount of money and has no choice but to try and recover some of that from the ­Scottish government given it was their scheme and they were responsible for it.”

It has now lodged a claim for compensation in the Court of Session and has named former Circular Economy minister Lorna Slater in the action.

Ms Slater scrapped the DRS in June following intervention by Westminster which wants to launch a UK-wide scheme that has been delayed until at least late 2027.

The Sunday Mail reports that the Scottish government “made no reference to any outstanding need to seek UK Internal Market Act approval”.

Other companies and organisations, including Irn-Bru maker AG Barr and the scheme administrator Circularity Scotland, have also lost considerable sums as a result of its cancellation.

Ms Slater and her Green party colleague Patrick Harvie have blamed the UK Government for the scheme’s failure. However, there has been no indication of firms making claims against the UK government.

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

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

The Sunday Mail said Ms Slater and Green Party did not respond to requests for comment.

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