DRS ‘reduced to a tardy political battle’ says SLTA

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Next steps: SLTA MD Colin Wilkinson says more questions have been thrown up by the delay of the DRS
Next steps: SLTA MD Colin Wilkinson says more questions have been thrown up by the delay of the DRS

Related tags Legislation Social responsibility Scottish government

The SLTA (Scottish Licensed Trade Association) has welcomed the news Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) will be delayed until at least October 2025 but warned politics must be left out of it in future.

The trade body said the delay will give hospitality businesses the “breathing space they need to concentrate on the more pressing issues”.

SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson said: “We have always said we will support a DRS that is workable and practicable for both businesses and consumers – the DRS proposed by the Scottish Government was not.”

Common sense has prevailed

He continued: “Over five years ago, the SLTA, along with other hospitality trade and retail groups, told the Scottish government any DRS should be UK-wide and without glass, and include a standardised deposit charge, bar codes and labelling across the UK.

“Common sense has prevailed at last – yet the latest twist in this soap opera also throws up a whole load of questions: Will the UK be ready to implement a scheme in autumn 2025? Where does it leave Circularity Scotland (CLS), the scheme administrator in Scotland.”

Wilkinson added the situation was “quite staggering” when considering how much time and financial investment has been invested by the hospitality and retail sectors, producers and the Scottish government in trying to plan a DRS for Scotland “that is now going nowhere”.

Consider the implications

“It’s now time for reflection and pause for thought to consider the implications for everyone involved before taking any decisions on what happens next,” he said.

“It is hugely disappointing that DRS – something that should be a force for good – has been reduced to a tardy political battle. Businesses deserve better than this.

“The next steps must be the right steps with both the Scottish and UK governments and industry taking a grown-up approach – focusing on what is right for businesses and consumers – and leaving politics out of it.”

Yesterday (Thursday 8 June), Scottish parliament circular economy minister Lorna Slater said​ of the third postponement of the initiative: “These delays and dilutions lie squarely in the hands of UK Government that has sadly seemed so far more intent on sabotaging this parliament than protecting our environment.”

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