Select Committee on Environmental Audit Written Evidence


Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from Richard Bird, Executive Officer, British Aggregates Association

BRITISH AGGREGATES ASSOCIATION AND THE GOVERNMENT'S PROPOSED NEW RELIEF SCHEME FOR THE AGGREGATES LEVY IN NORTHERN IRELAND

  In light of the Committee's ongoing Inquiry into the Pre Budget Report 2003, I am writing to inform you of the latest development regarding the aggregates levy.

  The British Aggregates Association (BAA) has lodged a complaint with the European Commission against the Government's proposed new scheme for relief from the aggregates levy in Northern Ireland, asking the Commission to investigate as the proposals may be illegal. This is in line with our long standing legal action against the aggregates levy across the UK.

  The Association remains sympathetic to the very serious problems the levy has caused for quarry operators in Northern Ireland. We recognise that our objection could delay or prevent the proposed new relief scheme in Northern Ireland which could have helped stop some of the damage done by the levy in Northern Ireland. But we believe that continuing our legal challenge to the levy, based on compelling evidence that it is not protecting the environment, and is in some ways harming the environment across the UK, is the best way to protect the interests of both the environment and independent quarry operators.

  The BAA has continued to seek further opportunities to engage constructively with the Treasury, and wrote two letters (on 19 December and 27 January) to John Healey MP, requesting a meeting. Unfortunately we received no response by 9 February 2004 and were obliged by that time to lodge a complaint with the Commission. We continue to seek opportunities to engage constructively with the Government regarding policy on aggregates quarrying and the environment.

March 2004



 
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