Full enforcement of Scotland’s landfill ban has been delayed until 2025, Scotland’s Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced.
Responding to a question lodged to the Scottish Government, Cunningham said she had agreed that full enforcement of banning biodegradable waste from being sent to landfill should be delayed until 2025 for both public and private sectors.
She said that while significant progress has already been made towards readiness for the ban and a majority of local authorities and many commercial operators have long-term or interim solutions in place, the evidence available suggests that full compliance by 2021 will not be possible without reliance on export options – including landfill in England, with consequent environmental impact and additional financial implications for local authorities.
She said the new timescale is in line with the broader advice provided by the Climate Change Committee on action needed to meet net zero emissions targets.
I have agreed that full enforcement should be delayed until 2025 for both public and private sectors managing wastes covered by the ban
Cunningham said: “Having carefully considered the key issues and available evidence, including advice from a working group comprising public and private sector waste sector professionals and the views of wider stakeholders, I am prepared to accept – reluctantly – that a transitional approach is necessary; and that some commercial operators and a minority of local authorities need longer to achieve full compliance with the ban.
“Therefore, I have agreed that full enforcement should be delayed until 2025 for both public and private sectors managing wastes covered by the ban. This timescale is in line with the broader advice provided by the Climate Change Committee on action needed to meet net zero emissions targets.”
The necessary legislation extending the deadline will only be made on the condition that remaining local authorities and the commercial sector in particular commit to making further progress at pace and demonstrate early and robust evidence of such progress, she added.
To support progress, Scottish Government will support a positive, centrally co-ordinated intervention to help the remaining local authorities procure solutions for the remaining tonnage of waste; and Scottish Landfill Tax will be used to provide a further incentive to ensure that transitional work proceeds at the necessary pace, it was also announced.
Cunningham added: “In relation to future delivery plans, I wish to reinforce the importance of reducing waste and increasing recycling. These provide the best solutions in line with the waste hierarchy and will reduce reliance on solutions further down the hierarchy, such as energy from waste.
“Scottish Government will continue to work closely with key partners and will bring forward detailed proposals for this transitional approach in due course.”