Sir, – Following on from an article in last week’s The Scottish Farmer, I am writing to clear up how the proposed plastic levy might affect farmers.

This season many farmers and contractors are going to be caught up in paying a controversial under the radar £50 per tonne environmental levy which is being added on to new silage plastics. Around 80% of manufacturers have agreed to add this voluntary levy and most farmers don’t know anything about it – even though all the money will come out of their pockets.

This is an extra cost farmers could certainly do without, given the other unprecedented rising costs they are currently faced with.

The thinking behind the levy, which is actioned by the plastic manufacturers, is to try and get more plastic recycled. However, Solway Recycling and Peter Allison Agri Services – the two largest farm plastic collectors and recyclers in Scotland – feel this levy is extremely unfair on all the farmers that are already recycling their waste plastic.

Together, we reckon there are thousands of farmers throughout the UK who are already paying to get their waste plastic recycled through existing collectors like us, but instead of being rewarded for doing the right thing this levy will penalise them with another hit to their pockets.

To make matters worse, this levy collected will effectively subsidise other farmers who currently don’t bother recycling.

The Green Tractor Scheme, the body which represents UK collectors, said it would normally support any new initiatives to help recycle more plastic but this one is totally unfair on thousands and thousands of farmers. It said that manufacturers and merchants who are adding the levy and selling the plastic to farmers need to be upfront with declaring the charges.

Firstly, they should be informing them about the cost of the levy and secondly, as it is voluntary, they should give the farmers an over the counter choice to pay it or not.

Solway Recycling and Peter Allison Agri Services want to make it clear that they had nothing to do with this levy and don’t benefit from it in any way so therefore don’t want to be associated with it.

They have written to the farmers' unions to ask them to highlight this issue to their members and to suggest that they encourage any concerned farmers to question the merchants and manufacturers about this ‘voluntary’ levy so those who already pay to recycle don’t have to pay again unless they choose to.

Solway Recycling

Peter Allison

The Green Tractor Scheme