SCOTTISH Government minister Lorna Slater has written to the UK Government to express “deep concerns” amid suggestions its deposit return scheme (DRS) could be pushed back to 2027 rather than 2025.

She was responding to comments from UK Environment Secretary Steve Barclay, who told MPs this week that the 2027 deadline was “probably more likely”.

The scheme would see consumers recoup a small deposit when they return single-use bottles and cans, having been in development in the Environment Department (Defra) since 2017 and was part of the 2019 Tory manifesto.

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The Scottish Government initially designed its own DRS, but its launch was ultimately delayed to 2025 in order to bring it in line with a planned UK-wide scheme.

The Scottish Government blamed Westminster’s refusal to allow glass in the scheme for the delay, accusing the Conservatives of sinking Scotland’s DRS and undermining devolution.

However, the UK Government said the delay was entirely the decision of ministers in Edinburgh, who failed to design the scheme properly.

In her letter to Barclay, Slater (below) said she had “deep concerns”, adding: “Despite our continued requests for Defra to set out its plans for DRS and my recent correspondence dated March 8 on such matters, it is extremely frustrating to hear about details of a further significant delay to the DRS launch from media reports.”

The National: Lorna Slater in the Scottish Parliament

She continued: “As you know, Scotland would now have an operational DRS if the UK Government had not prevented it from moving forward as planned.

“This would have provided a launchpad for wider DRS across the UK meaning we would all be experiencing the environmental and economic benefits much sooner.”

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Officials across the four nations are working closely on the UK DRS scheme, she said.

The Scottish Green minister added: “Even though the main premise for undermining Scotland’s scheme was the need for a UK-wide approach, almost one year on, there is no further clarity on the details of your regulations.

“We, the other devolved governments, and businesses now find ourselves facing even greater uncertainty as a result of these latest comments.”

Defra has been approached for comment.