Michael Gove

Environment secretary Michael Gove has said a deposit return scheme will be introduced in the UK

The Daily Mail and others are celebrating today’s announcement of the go-ahead of the deposit return scheme for plastic bottles. But even before the official consultation begins, there is a very different view emerging among industry and environmental sources as to the government’s handling of the plastic crisis.

“Omnishambles” was the damming phrase used by one leading supplier involved in the talks, while one charity boss described the situation in Westminster as “chaos”.

The never-ending drip-feed of confusing announcements by various ministers including, today, Michael Gove, the chancellor and the PM herself, has smacked not of a joined-up policy on plastic but of kneejerk reaction politics and one-upmanship.

Meanwhile there are still huge questions about how DRS will work with the proposed tax on single-use plastics, and how the failing PRN system currently used to incentivise recycling will be reviewed.

How will DRS be brought in in a way that doesn’t devastate local authority recycling income?

How will the move fit in with the plans due to come from Wrap next month?

These are just some of the unanswered questions, yet there is no stopping Gove, it seems.

While many welcome his arrival at Defra – in the belief that the appointment of a ‘heavyweight’ to the role would help raise the profile of the industry – there are suspicions that all may not be what it seems.

Why has DRS been announced today, when a few weeks ago the government was saying it needed to wait until the consultation?

It all looks alarmingly like certain media giants pushing for DRS are running the show – note the glowing interview with Gove today in the Mail.

A future candidate for PM? The lavish praise won’t have done him any harm. But will joined-up policymaking be lost along the way?