Regulatory Review Group minutes: February 2024

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 27 February 2024.

Attendees and apologies

  • Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chairman
  • Susan Love, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
  • Fiona Richardson, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Brian Lawrie, Society of Chief Officers of Environmental Health in Scotland
  • Ewan MacDonald-Russell, Scottish Retail Consortium
  • David MacKenzie, Trading Standards
  • Douglas White, Consumer Scotland
  • Danielle Dyer, Office of Internal Markets (Observer)
  • Wendy McCutcheon, Scottish Government
  • Judith Young, Scottish Government
  • Ross Stephen, Scottish Government (Secretariat)
  • Alex Kidd, Scottish Government (Secretariat)
  • Rachel Dolan, Scottish Government (Secretariat)
  • Gareth Heavisides, Scottish Government
  • Ginny Gardner, Scottish Government
  • Rhianne Carroll, Scottish Government
  • David McPhee, Scottish Government
  • Mark Sweeney, Scottish Government
  • Andrew Scott, Scottish Government


  • James Fowlie, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities

Items and actions

Welcome, introductions, approval of minutes and correspondence

Professor Russel Griggs OBE welcomed attendees and thanked them for participating in this virtual Regulatory Review Group (RRG) policy spotlight meeting. Minutes from the previous meeting (25 January 2024) were approved and Members were advised that the Minimum Unit Pricing and Tobacco and Vaping Framework final advice has now been sent to Ministers. 

Policy officials from DG Net Zero were introduced and presented on the Circular Economy Bill and the Single Use Vape Ban.

Circular Economy Bill

Policy officials presented to the Group on the Circular Economy Bill. The RRG confirmed they would send their advice to the relevant Ministers and officials to ensure they have consideration of implementation challenges identified.

A facilitated discussion then took place where the following key points were raised:

  • There was apprehension around wording relating to non-perishable goods with Members looking for assurance that these non-perishables are not included as part of requirements on disposable goods. Clarification is needed on what is in and out of scope.
  • Regarding reporting, clarification is needed on who, when and how the reporting requirements within the Bill will take place. It was noted that other sectors such as agriculture have several different forms to fill in and the RRG wish to avoid this. There is a preference for only one form which would alleviate any confusion.
  • Members agreed this enabling Bill has value; however, it would be useful for the consumer to see how this fits into the bigger picture and why this is important. Consumer messaging is critical and could be a main factor in compliance and will help consumers understand the value in recycling and reusables. A national campaign should be considered to raise awareness and inform consumers on how to recycle or dispose of waste in an appropriate way.
  • Local flexibility can have a positive impact, however, there is a risk this could cause inconsistency in consumer messaging. There are local differences in waste collection where issues are already prevalent around enforcement. This also leaves room for rogue traders and fly tipping, highlighting that messaging must inform consumers of how they can protect themselves against this. 
  • Confusion may also arise within areas of communal bin use for example, which can lead to issues for enforcement and fixed penalty notices. A clear structure will need to be in place to ensure correct enforcement of these regulations, this may include an element of self-enforcement. There is a gap in legislation on commercial waste and giving regulators the ability to deal with that issue appropriately is essential for enforcement to work.
  • The Group agreed it is essential to ensure the most life is utilised from products and that this should be considered in the design process, ensuring parts are replaceable. However, concerns were raised about the quality of products and ensuring products would still be safe to use and of the correct standard.

The Group identified it would be useful to look at the cumulative impact on small business and the practical impact this would have on them. The impacts of this Bill should be modelled in terms of the additional requirements in individual and cumulative terms, recognising that while exact costs may be challenging to determine it would help understanding on approximate costs. The Group highlighted that it is also important to note small business in Scotland are consumers and there may not be a waste option available in their area.

Policy officials agreed to return to the Group once this work has progressed to give more information on the unintended consequences as well as the economic opportunities this Bill will create.

Single Use Vapes Ban

Policy officials presented to the Group on the Single-Use Vapes Ban.

The RRG confirmed they would send their advice to the relevant officials and Ministers to ensure they have consideration of any implementation challenges identified. 

A facilitated discussion then took place where the below points were raised:

  • It was noted that while this is an environmental issue, it is closely linked to work being carried forward in the public health space. The Group have some apprehension that the various measures being taken forward may have a cumulative impact for retailers and therefore, clarification on timescales of implementation is required.
  •  The Group advised that businesses directly affected by this ban should be approached with consistent messaging issued by the Scottish Government to ensure they understand what will be included and what the requirement will be.
  • The Group noted the positive engagement between officials and regulators on the draft regulations. The Group sought clarification on the consultation period and highlighted that assurance that wording adopted, and the enforcement regime will be robustly designed and scrutinised by the relevant stakeholders.
  • Members highlighted that proportionate enforcement will be required to ensure compliance and that there will be ongoing monitoring needed particularly given the risk of a rise in illicit vapes due to the demand for this product. The risk for an illegal market forming should not be underestimated.
  • There was some apprehension around timeframes, with the Group noting that while a 01 April 2025 implementation date provides a significant lead-in time, it may still create difficulties in ensuring that stock sales can take place as no discounting of these products is permitted. The Group noted that there may be costs for business who must replan their store layouts to respond to this and wider vaping measures.
  • The Group raised the need for clarification on what the definition of ‘single-use' is and whether this would include ‘top-up pods’. Members raised the importance of possible gaps in regulations being closed to prevent a drop in compliance given the profitability of these products.

Scottish Government officials will provide a timeline for Population Health and Circular Economy to members to showcase important dates for vaping measures.

Next steps and any other business:  

The Group discussed whether they should seek to review the Short-Term Lets regulations. Members agreed that a review would be necessary, however, it should be incorporated into a longer-term work programme. More data is required for a review to have an impact and yield accurate results and, therefore, should be revisited by the Group in 2025/26.

It was agreed the RRG would invite Population Health policy officials to their next meeting on 19 March 2024 to present on the Restricting of Promotions of Food High in Fat, Salt and Sugar consultation. Officials will issue invitations on behalf of the RRG.

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