Concerns had previously been raised about the intended launch date, with criticism that it was too ambitious for such a wide-reaching system to have the appropriate infrastructure in place. Other than a change to the go-live date, the bill remains the same, despite concerns by industry representatives of glass and steel as to the proposed list of materials collected.
The delay raises further questions over the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on other environmental legislation, primarily the UK Environmental Bill, which also proposes implementation of a DRS by 2023.
The Environment Bill was published at the end of January this year but is now suspended due to the pandemic. It has yet to reach the House of Lords for the three readings needed for it to pass into law.
This is another potential blow to the government consultations for the waste and resources sector, which already experienced delays after the general election last year. Martin Trigg-Knight, Head of Packaging at Clarity Environmental, expressed his concern for timelines in light of current global events.
“It is a difficult time for many businesses as the economic and social impacts of the pandemic dominates our lives. The delay of the Scottish DRS system is not unexpected, and many will now wonder whether we will see other delays to UK legislation. With many small and medium businesses focused on recovery and establishing business as usual, it will be important to allow sufficient time to also prepare for legislative and financial changes for their packaging compliance. We will, of course, continue to keep our members up to speed with any possible changes should they arise.”