Concerns have been raised that a proposed bottle return scheme could put small breweries at risk.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron warns that the Deposit Return Scheme, due to be introduced in 2021, could impose extra costs on local breweries.  

Mr Cameron revealed that he has been contacted by industry representatives and has written to the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, expressing his concern and demanding assurances.

“I want to see clear evidence from the minister that this scheme has been properly thought through and its implications for producers in the Highlands and Islands have been addressed.

“We desperately need to encourage entrepreneurs to set up new businesses in our region and it is vital that we do not count the cost of this scheme in lost jobs and missed opportunities.”

Mr Cameron said: “In principle, I support measures to reduce waste, and re-using bottles is an excellent way of doing that.

“However it is crucial that any scheme doesn’t unfairly put our smaller breweries at risk due to them bearing disproportionately high costs compared to larger companies in the Central Belt.

“One of the success stories of the Highlands and Islands has been the establishment of a fantastic range of local craft breweries in recent years, such as Fyne Ales or Glen Spean Brewing to name just a couple.

“However, setting up a small business can be very demanding, and we shouldn’t add to that by introducing more costs and bureaucracy, especially if such businesses don’t benefit from the economies of scale of larger concerns. Many breweries in the Highlands and Islands also have to bear the extra cost of getting their goods to market using an increasingly stretched transport infrastructure.”