The Scottish Government brought forward its long awaited Circular Economy Bill towards the end of June. This bill was one of the pieces of legislation thwarted by COVID 19, so is somewhat overdue.
It is important to remember that the Circular Economy Bill only contains measures which need legislation. Much of what the Government plans to do with regard to making our economy more circular doesn’t require legislation and will be laid out in a separate policy document (here is the draft route map which was consulted on).
Another thing to bear in mind is that most of the provisions in the Bill give the Scottish Government powers to bring in new measures, but the details of those measures will be laid out in future secondary legislation.
LINK members working on circular economy are generally supportive of the measures in the Bill. That said, we would like to see some of them tightened up and we are discussing our priorities for additional measures we would like to see included. For example, we are pleased that the Bill includes the powers to set consumption targets and the duty to publish a Circular Economy Strategy, to be updated every 5 years. However, the wording leaves the setting of targets as optional (whereas they need to be an obligation) and a rather weak requirement for Scottish Government ‘to have regard to’ the Circular Economy Strategy in making policies (‘in accordance with’ makes it stronger). We will be highlighting weaknesses like these to the Committee and suggesting improvements.
The Bill also contains a number of other measures and the Committee is seeking views on five of these – they are keen to hear from as many people as possible:
- Additional charges for single use items. We think it is a good idea to give Scottish Government the powers to do this, with the intention that it would lead to the reduction in consumption of single use and encourage re use. It should only be brought in for items for which a reusable alternative is readily available and a practical option.
- New measures around household waste, creating a penalty for householders who do not comply with existing responsibilities. We think this is a good idea to help reduce flytipping and reduce contamination of recycling; but we strongly believe that it must only be brought in once everyone has access to clearly labelled and easily accessible recycling facilities.
- Recycling targets for local authorities. We think this is a good idea as there is currently a huge discrepancy between recycling rates achieved by different local authorities. Targets need to be set with the distinctive features of the areas covered by different local authorities in mind; and local authorities need to be properly resourced to enable them to meet the targets.
- Restriction on the disposal of unsold goods. We think this is a good idea and hope that it will be applied as comprehensively as possible.
- Fines for littering from a vehicle. We think this is a good idea as a disincentive to littering from vehicles.
Providing your view only takes a few minutes – you can give each measure a ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ with the option to leave comments as well.
LINK will be submitting detailed evidence to the Committee – as mentioned above – which we are currently working on. If you have any questions or want to know more, please get in touch with email@example.com.