I agree that we need to do all we can to move the country towards a more circular economy and I am committed to limiting the waste that needs to be treated at energy-from-waste facilities. As you will be aware, incineration capacity is skyrocketing in Scotland; rising from 1.1 million tonnes in 2007 to 3.9 million tonnes either built or planned as of 2020. This risks turning Scotland into the waste bin of Europe.
Unfortunately, simply closing incinerator plants might not be so easy and there will always be waste that cannot be recycled or reused, because it is contaminated or because there is no end market. However, we also cannot switch back to landfilling non-recyclable waste which is responsible for about 75 per cent of carbon emissions from the waste sector. We have seen the SNP Government push Scotland’s landfill ban to 2025, since it was unable to meet its target for 2021.
Furthermore, we have seen the Scottish Government’s junior coalition partners, the Greens make a U-turn on waste incineration. Despite pledging to ban the practice in their manifesto, the Greens instead decided to ‘review the role incineration plays in Scotland’s waste hierarchy, including the need for new incineration capacity’. Though delayed, we welcome the Scottish Government’s halt to the construction of new
The Scottish Conservatives want to ensure that the amount of waste ending up in incinerators and in landfills is as minimal as possible. We also don’t believe we should be building new incinerators and we need clear moratorium across Scotland. We would support a Circular Economy Bill which would set new targets for reducing our raw material usage, especially those that are single use or difficult to recycle. We also support maintaining the Scottish Landfill Tax rates at parity with Landfill Tax in the rest of the UK to deter waste tourism.