NFU Scotland has warmly welcomed confirmation from the UK Treasury that the plastic film used by many farmers and crofters to produce silage bales will continue to be exempt from the Plastic Packaging Tax.
From April 2022, the wrapping used to prepare silage bales faced losing its existing exemption, bringing an additional cost of £200 per tonne of wrap.
NFU Scotland, alongside NFU England and Wales and other stakeholders have successfully lobbied MPs and UK Government departments for a change to HMRC rules. That lobbying effort saw key MPs receive a briefing on the issue ahead of a debate in Westminster Hall last week.
It has been accepted by Treasury that, whilst silage film falls within the scope of the packaging tax, it is a highly specialised product, the primary purpose of which is to enable the fermentation process needed to produce the silage. That is a ‘non-packaging function’ making it eligible for exemption. HMRC will shortly publish updated guidance which will reflect this position.
NFU Scotland’s Environmental Resources Policy Manager Sarah Cowie said: “We welcome this decision that properly recognises the integral role that plastic wrap plays in the production of silage. With input prices soaring, avoiding a taxation cost of £200 per tonne of wrap is also very welcome at this time.
“Appropriate alternatives to plastic wrap have yet to be developed but farmers and crofters remain committed to farming in the most environmentally friendly way. That sees widespread industry uptake of the schemes already available to collect silage film from farms, crofts and collection centres and recycle it.
“More widely, NFU Scotland would like to see support for research and development of affordable and technically suitable silage films for the future produced with more recycled plastic content or produced from alternatives to plastic.”