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Independent retailers have reacted with shock to a report of a legal challenge against the proposed introduction of a deposit return scheme (DRS) in Scotland next year.

According to the trade magazine The Grocer, the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) is understood to be seeking a judicial review into the way the Scottish government has embarked on the initiative.

Today, The Fed, which represents independent retailers in the UK and Ireland, said it was “shocked” at the SGF’s decision.

The Fed’s Scottish president Ferhan Ashiq said: “We have been working on the introduction of DRS in Scotland for five years and have seen its rollout delayed from July this year until August 2023.

“The last thing that everyone involved in this initiative needs right now is yet more uncertainty.  We need certainty, we have a launch date, and we must continue to work together on delivering a scheme that works for all retailers – large and small – as well as achieving its aim of increasing the availability of high-quality recycled plastic, metal and glass and decreasing the number of these items being discarded as litter.”

Mr Ashiq continued: “The Fed is shocked at the decision to seek a judicial review.  All parties have sat in meetings where all the ins and outs of a DRS have been discussed and we will continue to meet to address any issues.

“Producers want it – they need DRS to get the recycled plastic for their products – retailers want certainty, and the public want it, so let’s stop messing around and move ahead to produce a strong and successful DRS for Scotland.”

Fellow Scottish retailer Shahid Razzaq, who is a member of the Fed’s national executive committee, added: ““From day one, we have supported the Scottish government’s aim to increase its recycling rates, but have been mindful to ensure that any scheme that is introduced works in the best interests of independent retailers.

“Our members are responsible retailers who want to play a role in protecting the environment, and that’s why we have always been vocal about getting DRS introduced in Scotland and why we have engaged proactively with like-minded stakeholders.”

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