THE UK Government has confirmed that the introduction of a UK-wide deposit return scheme (DRS) has been delayed until 2027.

The scheme was first announced by then environment secretary Michael Gove in 2018. 

However, in a ministerial statement on Thursday current Environment Minister Robbie Gibb said the scheme had once again been delayed. 

“Following extensive engagement with industry, who will be responsible for delivering the DRS, and a review of international approaches to DRS implementation, additional time will be needed to efficiently and effectively roll out the schemes across the UK,” he said.

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“With the agreement of ministerial colleagues across the devolved administrations, the DRS will go live in October 2027.”

The move comes after the Scottish Government’s own deposit return scheme was scrapped after the UK Government refused to allow for the inclusion of glass.

Scotland's scheme would have seen shoppers pay an extra 20p when purchasing a beverage in a can or bottle, which would then be returned to the consumer once it was brought back for recycling. 

However, some industry figures claimed it would imposed disproportionate costs on their businesses. 

The National: Mairi McAllan said delay was extremely disappointing Mairi McAllan said delay was extremely disappointing (Image: PA)

Despite the UK Government initially allowing devolved nations to design their own scheme, it refused to provide the Scottish Government with an exemption from the Internal Market Act. 

Then circular economy minister Lorna Slater said that without an exemption Scotland's scheme was no longer viable. 

“It’s extremely disappointing but perhaps unsurprising that the UK Government has failed to make progress and is delaying the UK-wide Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) even further to October 2027,” said Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan.

"This comes less than a year after their inexplicable, last-minute intervention prevented Scotland’s scheme from launching.

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"Deposit return schemes have been shown across Europe to reduce litter, cut emissions and build a greener and more circular economy.

“Scotland would be enjoying these benefits by now if it wasn’t for the UK Government’s reckless actions. Indeed, just recently, independent and successful Ireland launched a similar scheme.

“This is a clear example of where the UK is holding Scotland back in tackling the climate emergency."