South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has demanded answers from the Scottish Government over the lack of clarity regarding cross border alignment of the deposit return scheme.
The local MSP’s South Scotland constituency takes in both Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders and local people are in a unique position where they regularly shop, or if they are a business, sell, on both sides of the border.
Speaking during a question session on the deposit return scheme, Colin Smyth questioned the Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity Lorna Slater on the issue.
Speaking in the chamber, Colin Smyth said: “My constituents who live near the border and routinely buy—or, if it is a business, sell—on both sides of that border, often on the same day, are not interested in the constitutional bickering that we have had today.
“The lack of clarity over alignment is a real concern of businesses in my constituency.
“If there are any further delays to the Scottish scheme, and the 2025 date for the Welsh and English schemes looms ever closer, at what point does the minister conclude that bringing the schemes in at the same time makes sense when it comes to that alignment, as the Welsh Government has concluded?”
Speaking after the session, Colin Smyth added: “The deposit return scheme has laudable aims – to ensure those who produce the estimated 2.5 billion of recyclable drinks containers used in Scotland every year are the ones who have to collect and recycle them. However, the Government’s handling of its introduction has been calamitous and small local businesses such as brewers and distilleries still don’t have answers to basic questions of how it works.
“My borderland constituency is unique in Scotland and more often than not, the Scottish Government fails to take cross border issues into account. The case for a UK wide scheme rather than separates schemes has never been stronger.”