WESTMINSTER has refused to allow Scotland to include glass in its planned recycling scheme.

In a move that will infuriate ministers in Edinburgh, the UK Government has blocked Scotland from including glass in plans for a deposit return scheme (DRS).

The scheme is intended to put a small cash deposit on the cost of recyclable drink containers such as plastic bottles or aluminium cans.

The Scottish Government had wanted to include glass bottles in this – but doing so would have required special permission from London because the UK’s planned scheme will not include glass.

Michael Gove, Alister Jack and Thérèse Coffey have written a letter confirming to the First Minister they would not grant an exemption to the terms of the Internal Market Act, which regulates trade within the United Kingdom.

The decision came after Humza Yousaf set a deadline of 6pm on Monday for the UK Government to confirm whether it would allow an exemption.

Writing to Yousaf, the ministers said there was “nothing to prevent” Scotland launching its own scheme in March next year.

The letter said: “Interoperability of schemes across the whole UK ensures all manufacturers, whether in Clydebank, Carlisle, Cardiff, or Carrickfergus, have the same access to sell their products across the UK internal market.

“The exclusion of glass also ensures consumer choice is not restricted in Scotland, given the risk that differences in scope would have led to some producers choosing not to supply Scotland through online or physical sales.”

An exemption under the Internal Market Act was already granted by the UK Government to allow Scotland to press ahead with its scheme faster than the rest of the country.

The letter added: “As we have granted a UKIM exclusion, there is nothing to prevent you from proceeding with your own scheme next March, on the basis that it would form part of a UK-wide solution to protect our shared market and increase recycling from 2025.

“As you know, the schemes planned for introduction in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland are due to rollout from October 2025.

“As set out in our consultation response, this is a stretching, but achievable, target date and we will continue to work with industry to assess the feasibility of this date.

“Government officials will continue to work with their counterparts from the devolved administrations, including Scottish Government officials, to achieve our shared ambitions to increase recycling across the whole of the UK.

“We stand ready to continue our engagement to support your scheme launching next year, ahead of a UK-wide solution the following year, in line with the ask from businesses for consistency in all parts of the country.”