Biffa has threatened to sue the ­Scottish Government for £100million over the collapsed deposit return scheme, according to reports.

The waste management company bought around 200 new trucks and had started recruiting staff when Lorna Slater announced a two-and-a-half-year delay to the scheme. 

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A source told the Sunday Mail: “A huge investment was made in preparing for this contract and assurances were given that it would be going ahead.

“When it was cancelled, Biffa lost a ­significant amount of money and has no choice but to try and recover some of that from the ­Scottish Government given it was their scheme and they were responsible for it.”

At the time, Ms Slater, the Circular Economy minister, blamed the UK Government after ministers in Whitehall made clear the Scottish Government would only be given the necessary exemption to the UK Internal Market Act if they made substantial changes.

This included removing glass from the scheme, standardised labelling and the same deposit charge across the UK.

Ms Slater said the lack of detail around conditions laid down by Whitehall, including not knowing what that deposit charge would need to be, meant the scheme could not go ahead as planned.

However, Circularity Scotland (CSL), the industry-led body behind the DRS, insisted that the scheme could have complied with the UK Government's demands and launched next year.

Though that was before this week’s announcement from Tory Environment Secretary Steve Barclay, that a 2027 launch for a UK-wide DRS was now “probably more likely”.

Biffa declined to comment to the Sunday Mail.

The Scottish Govern­ment said it wouldn’t comment on a legal threat from Biffa but stressed it was “committed to the delivery of a successful deposit return scheme.”