The Home Office in London has confessed it made a legislative “error” when it repealed sections of an environmental protection act without realising that they applied to Scotland.
As a result local authorities north of the border no longer have legal authority to issue notices requiring companies to install rubbish bins and take other measures to prevent littering. They also can’t order public bodies to clean up their land.
The Scottish environment minister, Richard Lochhead, has accused UK ministers of having “a rubbish attitude towards Scotland’s rubbish”. He is writing to the Home Office minister, Mike Penning, demanding “urgent action” to rectify the blunder.
“Laws over litter and the environment are rightly devolved to the Scottish Parliament but the Tories at Westminster have gone ahead and repealed them without even informing the Scottish Parliament,” said Lochhead.
“It’s now over fifteen years since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, but that news doesn’t seem to have reached some parts of Whitehall yet. I am asking the UK government to reinstate the provisions they repealed – and what measures they are taking to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
The Home Office’s mistake was made when it was repealing sections 92-94A of the 1990 Environmental Protection Act so they could be replaced by new powers in the 2014 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act.