Scottish Liberal Democrats: Landfill export loophole makes mockery of SNP law

Scottish Liberal Democrats today said the SNP are “relying on a loophole big enough to drive a rubbish truck through” after a new study showed authorities aren’t ready for the 2021 ban on landfill and that preparations are being made to send waste to Northern England and abroad.

The Waste Markets Study showed:

  • Local authorities accounting for almost half of Scotland’s waste aren’t ready for the ban (3 councils have long-term solutions but no interim solution, 6 have an interim but no long-term solution, while 9 have neither).
  • Commercial waste operators aren’t prepared, with the strategies that are in place “primarily focussed on transporting waste, either to landfill or treatment infrastructure in Northern England or into thermal treatment capacity abroad”.
  • Exporting “will result in significant economic costs to Scotland”, give rise to additional haulage emissions, as well as bring forward the date by which landfills in Northern England reach capacity to 2024.
  • Even if current recycling and waste prevention targets are met, there will be 1 million tonnes of problematic waste in 2021.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie commented:

“It would make a mockery of the law if the SNP’s solution to meeting their own landfill ban is to ship it to England or abroad. Ministers are relying on a loophole so big you could drive a rubbish truck through it.

“People in the North of England would have every right to be aghast at this solution. Sending lorryloads of garbage just beyond Gretna Green is even worse for the environment than landfilling it here because of the emissions generated by these journeys. It is a failure to take responsibility for Scotland’s waste mountain.

Scottish Liberal Democrat environment spokesperson Rebecca Bell said:

“We haven’t seen anywhere near the level of leadership or action required to actually meet the ban.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats demand better. That must start with a coffee cup levy and deposit return scheme, preventing millions of cups and plastic bottles going to landfill. This should have been done years ago.”

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