Delay to UK deposit scheme ‘will prevent Scottish booze cruises to England’

The flagship recycling rollout is postponed until 2025 after Westminster failed to grant approval for glass to be included.

Delay to UK-wide deposit scheme ‘will prevent Scottish booze cruises to England’ STV News

Delays in introducing a UK-wide deposit return scheme will ensure that there are no “booze cruises from Scotland to England”, a minister has said.

Environment minister Lord Benyon faced questions about the future of the scheme, which the Government hopes will be in place from October 2025.

Under a deposit return scheme, consumers pay more for single-use drinks cans and bottles initially, but can get cash back when they return the containers for recycling.

Holyrood had hoped to introduce a deposit return scheme last year, but its plans have been stalled to coincide with those due to be introduced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, over fears they could interrupt the UK’s internal market.

Drinks businesses have also raised concerns over plans to include glass containers in the Scottish scheme.

In the House of Lords, Labour peer Baroness Hayman of Ullock asked why the Government had not tried to introduce a scheme sooner.

She said: “The minister talked about the deposit return scheme, and said that it would be coming in in October 2025. Why has it taken so long?

“People are incredibly frustrated about this. They want it introduced as quickly as possible. Is the delay partly because the Government are reconsidering its scope?”

Lord Benyon replied: “No, we want this to be a United Kingdom scheme.

“She will be aware of complications in Scotland, and we want to make sure that we are introducing this in conjunction, so that we do not have booze cruises from Scotland to England to buy drinks that will not fall within that scheme.

“We now think that we can work with this.

“In the context of the whole piece, with our plastics packaging tax, and recycling increasing dramatically over the last decade, we are now requiring households right across the country, uniform across the local authorities, to recycle all six waste streams by 2027.

“With the bag charge, which has seen a 98% reduction in the use of those, and the introduction of the banning of single-use plastic straws and a whole range of other single-use plastics, I think even she would admit that we are doing our best.”

The minister had earlier warned about the impact of microplastics on the natural world, as peers asked him about recycling plastics.

Lord Benyon said: “At a recent Ospar convention (Oslo and Paris Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic), I saw a fulmar having its guts opened up for us to look at, and you can see the plastics in its guts system and its gizzard.

“It just gives you an idea of how many thousands — millions even — of birds around the world are dying because of plastics pollution.

“We need to have a greater understanding of the impact on human health, and that is why our One Health agenda is really important in this field.”

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