The much-anticipated deposit return scheme (DRS) is to be delayed until at least 2024, sparking a sharp response from CPRE Kent, the countryside charity.
It was three years ago almost to the day that then-Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced we would all be paying a deposit of up to 22 pence on plastic and glass bottles, as well as on aluminium cans. That deposit could, of course, be reclaimed.
It was suggested the DRS might arrive as early as 2020, although a year later the government said it would be brought in for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2023.
However, yesterday (Thursday, March 24), in announcing a second DRS consultation, the government said such a scheme would not be introduced until late 2024, at the earliest. Unsurprisingly, this has not gone down well with the countryside charity, which has campaigned long and hard for a DRS.
Tom Fyans, CPRE campaigns and policy director, said before the announcement was made: “‘Despite huge public appetite to tackle the waste crisis, we have mountains of litter piling up in our countryside.
“New research shows that around eight billion drinks containers are landfilled, littered or burnt every year. Despite all this, the government looks set to delay a deposit return scheme until the end of 2024 – essentially shirking its responsibility and waiting for a new government to show any leadership on the issue. This amounts to six long years of dither and delay.
“This delay is so much more than kicking the can down the road – it seems that in the face of industry lobbying, ministers would prefer to stick their heads in the sand rather than tackle the problem of waste head on.
“The public want to see action, not just warm words. The evidence is clear that an ‘all-in’ deposit return scheme is the best option for people, planet and our economy, yet the government is showing no leadership on the issue at all.
“It beggars belief that when the evidence is so clear that an ‘all-in’ deposit system is needed, it is still unwilling to make the polluter pay.”
Thursday, March 25, 2021