Published on 19 AUGUST 2019 by 

Holyrood has restated its commitment to a landfill ban in 2021 – despite some speculation that the date could be pushed back to 2025, writes Lucy Pegg with additional reporting by Lucy Lewin.

A spokesperson for the Scottish government claimed that available evidence showed “significant progress” had already been made on meeting the 2021 target and most councils had long term or interim solutions in place.

The Scottish Government has reaffirmed its commitment to implementing a ban on biodegradable waste to landfill from 2021 (Stock photo)

The government statement comes in the wake of a letter written to the country’s Herald national newspaper. The letter was signed by former senior waste and environmental services staff at Scottish councils, who also suggested that the deadline was likely to change.

Colin Clark, Chris Ewing and John G Cunningham – previously of the Highland, Fife and Clackmannanshire* councils respectively – claimed in their August 5 letter to the Herald that the delay would be accompanied by a “fiscal measure”.

They wrote: “The 2021 landfill biodegradable waste ban illustrates perfectly the laissez-faire attitude of the government, which will over the coming days put the ban date back probably to 2025 (to coincide with the 2025 recycling and landfill target) doubtless with some lame fiscal measure which will not help.”

But the Scottish government defended itself against these comments, emphasising it was “committed to ending the practice of sending biodegradable municipal waste to landfill.


Under the ban – which was passed under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations legislation in 2012 – no biodegradable municipal waste will be allowed to be sent to landfill sites from January 1, 2021.

Concerns that local authorities and commercial waste operators in Scotland have failed to make adequate preparations for the ban were raised in a Eunomia report to Holyrood in April (see story).

A Scottish Government spokesperson said they remained aware of these challenges, but those affected had been given adequate time to prepare.

They added: “It is therefore disappointing that there is uncertainty around the readiness of some councils. Our focus is on working with authorities who do not yet have a solution in place to identify ways in which they can comply with the ban. Further details will be available in due course.”

*Detail amended 14:30 19/08/2019