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Scotland seeks ties with EU on circular economy

Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham has indicated that Scotland will pursue EU circular economy (CE) policies in the wake of Brexit.

Speaking at the Scottish Resources Conference in Edinburgh, Cunningham pledged to lobby the UK Government over its position on the CE package.

She said Scotland remained engaged with the CE package negotiations, and was “pursuing all possible options” to ensure the country’s continuing relationship with the EU after the UK leaves.

She said the administration pledged “to continue to play the role that we have been playing in contributing to EU-wide environmental policies and to make sure that we maintain, protect and advance our own environment”.

“The Commission’s proposals on waste and the CE are in tune with the Scottish Government,” she added. “We will continue to deal with them directly as well as seeking to influence the UK’s negotiating position.”

Cunningham said the Scottish Government was discussing new producer responsibility measures with the UK Government as well as Welsh and Northern Irish ministers.

“We believe there is potential to reform producer responsibility to promote aspects of design that support the CE such as increased durability or recycled content,” she said.

When questioned about a potential deposit return scheme, Cunningham refused to put a timescale on when she would decide whether or not to introduce any such proposals, saying there were “different views” on the regime.

Regarding Scotland’s undercapacity in energy-from-waste plants, Cunningham said public opposition to facilities was a barrier and more communication with residents needed to be done: “We will always have a battle.”

She also announced £120,000 for local authority communications on food waste and £500,000 to support the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and councils’ work to capture methane from closed landfills.

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