Scottish MPs have criticised a major waste strategy for failing to support proposed landfill bans with sufficient waste infrastructure.
The ‘zero waste plan’, a forthcoming policy framework which will help to set the direction for future waste legislation in Scotland, was criticised by Labour and Conservative MSPs for a lack of detail over plans to provide additional waste infrastructure in the event of a partial landfill ban.
The plan, which has undergone public consultation, could include strategies for stricter regulation on viable materials for energy-from-waste plants, a greater importance given to kerbside sorting measures and plans to ban biodegradables from landfill.
Conservative MSP John Scott said: “Historically, we have had access to cheap landfill. Infrastructure has not been put in place and investment has not been made to deal with trade waste. That will be the emerging problem of the next decade in waste management terms.”
There was a wider concern that the lack of materials recycling facilities (MRFs) in Scotland could compound the current concerns that the region will not meet its 2013 Landfill Directive targets. According to an Audit Scotland report, only 26% of all councils are confident that they will meet such objectives.
Scottish cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment Richard Lochhead, who proposed the zero waste plan, said: “A top priority for any waste policy must be a reduction in the amount of valuable resources that are sent to landfill. The landfill tax is already making the option increasingly expensive, and we believe that it is now time to consider legislation to ban certain materials altogether from being sent to landfill if they can be reused, recycled or recovered. Such an approach was widely supported in the consultation.
“We must continue to move towards a zero-waste society, which is why we hope to publish within the next few weeks our zero waste plan for a Scotland where waste is reduced to a minimum and all resources are used as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
The zero waste plan is expected to be published in June.