The return of a 1980s-style bottle refund scheme would cost five times more to set up than predicted by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, experts have warned.

CPRE used data from consultancy Eunomia that suggested a deposit-refund system, called for by author Bill Bryson last week, would cost £84m to set up and £700m a year to run.

However, consultancy Perchards has claimed the scheme would be more likely to cost £450m to set up and £1.4bn a year to run. It based the estimate on the costs of a similar scheme in Germany.

Eunomia's Dominic Hogg defended his forecast: "We used data for elements of the system taken from several countries, including Germany, and based total costs on a system designed for UK operation," he said.

CPRE Stop the Drop campaign manager Samantha Harding added: "We'd welcome detailed analysis of any other schemes that could deliver similar results."

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Editor's Comment: A missed chance to show inconsistencies of local recycling schemes (18 September 2010)