Biffa sues Scottish government for £200m over failed bottle deposit scheme

Biffa sues Scottish government for £200m over failed bottle deposit scheme

A waste services firm has gone to court to recover £200 million from Scottish ministers over losses sustained from investing in the government’s bottle recycling scheme.

Dean of Faculty, Roddy Dunlop KC, is representing Biffa Waste Services Ltd in its case at the Court of Session.

The company argues that the Scottish government misrepresented the scheme when it told Biffa it would go ahead.

The company is said to have relied on assurances from Green Party co-leader Lorna Slater when it began to prepare for the scheme and invested £55m in vehicles and equipment, before she scrapped the scheme in June last year.

The scheme was scrapped after the UK government refused a request for exclusion from the Internal Market Act, meaning Scotland could not include glass in its operations. Biffa reportedly invested more than £65m in preparation.

One sources said that Biffa agreed to the contract “on the written assurances of Lorna Slater about the deliverability of the scheme, and the Scottish government’s commitment to doing it”.

The source also said Biffa believed that the Scottish government had “negligently misrepresented the assurance it gave” and had “made no reference to any outstanding need to seek UK Internal Market Act approval”.

A spokesman for the company said: “Biffa was selected by Circularity Scotland Limited as the logistics partner for the delivery of the Scottish deposit return scheme, and invested significant sums to support its timely and successful implementation.

“This was done in good faith and on the expectation and understanding that the delivery of the scheme had been mandated by the Scottish government. Having carefully reviewed our position with our advisers, we can confirm that we are taking legal action to seek appropriate compensation for the losses Biffa has incurred.”

A Scottish government spokesman said: “The Scottish government cannot comment on ongoing litigation.”

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