Biffa Waste Services Ltd Seeks £200 Million Compensation in Legal Battle with Scottish Ministers

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Biffa Waste Services Ltd Seeks £200 Million Compensation in Legal Battle with Scottish Ministers

Biffa Waste Services Ltd has initiated a legal battle against Scottish ministers to recoup approximately £200 million following significant financial losses linked to the government's terminated bottle recycling initiative. The company's legal representatives have filed a case at the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, to seek compensation for a £150 million loss resulting from the failure of the SNP and Greens' flagship deposit return scheme, as well as ensuing lost profits. Biffa's legal team, led by Roddy Dunlop KC, the dean of the faculty of advocates, is spearheading the case.

According to Biffa, the Scottish government allegedly misrepresented the viability of the deposit return scheme, providing assurances from Green Party co-leader Lorna Slater that led to Biffa investing £55 million in vehicles and equipment in preparation for the program. Despite Slater's initial support as the minister for green skills, circular economy, and biodiversity, the scheme was abruptly terminated last year, prompting Biffa to seek legal recourse over its incurred losses. The collapse of the deposit return scheme was reportedly triggered by the UK government's decision not to grant full exemption from the Internal Market Act, thus prohibiting Scotland from incorporating glass in its recycling operations.

Sources disclosed to the Sunday Mail that Biffa entered into the agreement based on assurances from Lorna Slater regarding the scheme's feasibility and the government's commitment to its success. Allegedly, the company believes that the Scottish government provided misleading information and failed to disclose the necessity for approval under the UK Internal Market Act, leading to substantial investment losses for Biffa. In response to the situation, a spokesperson for Biffa affirmed that the company had partnered with Circularity Scotland Limited to facilitate the Scottish deposit return scheme, investing significant resources in preparation for its implementation under the presumption that the initiative had been endorsed by the government. Consequently, Biffa has taken the decision to pursue legal action to seek appropriate compensation for the financial setbacks it has sustained.

The deposit return scheme, aimed at enhancing recycling rates by implementing a 20p deposit on each drinks container, intended to incentivize consumers to return containers for refunds. Biffa had been tasked with collecting all recycled containers throughout Scotland under a ten-year contractual agreement, with anticipated profits exceeding £100 million. However, the scheme's abandonment and subsequent legal dispute have now left Biffa seeking substantial compensation for the losses it claims to have suffered as a result of its involvement in the failed initiative.