DRS delay highlights complexity and need for alignment

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors and the Scottish Wholesale Association have reacted to the decision to delay the launch of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme

Scottish Government has announced that the launch of the Deposit Return Scheme in Scotland, the first in the UK, is set to be delayed until at least March 2024.

In response to this news, James Bielby, Chief Executive of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, said: “The decision to delay the scheme reflects how complex it is for Scotland to introduce DRS ahead of the rest of the UK. Giving the industry extra time to prepare will help within the Scottish market, but we still have the problem that the scope of the scheme and the implementation date are different from DRS plans in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. What will make DRS effective and efficient is alignment across the four nations.”

SWA chief executive Colin Smith agreed: “We welcome the First Minister’s announcement of a six-month delay and his continued commitment to support small businesses impacted by the scheme. “We await the Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity’s speech on Thursday [20 April] when we will get further details of plans to simplify the scheme and what that will mean for Scotland’s wholesale sector.

“It’s now essential that the Scottish Government, CSL, SEPA and business work together so we can address the myriad practical issues still standing in the way of a workable DRS being launched in March.

“SWA has been pushing hard for a de-minimis approach to ensure wholesalers putting small volumes of a product on to the market aren’t hit hard by DRS and consumer choice isn’t reduced significantly. We believe that approach would help small importers but it would also reduce the numbers of producers CSL has to deal with, thereby simplifying and de-risking Scotland’s DRS.”

Colin Smith DRS FWD James Bielby SWA