MPA Calls for a Third to a Half of Annual ALSF Funds to be Allocated to Local Authorities in Quarrying Areas
New research by the Mineral Products Association (MPA) has revealed that local communities are failing to benefit fully from the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF), the main purpose of which is to support community and environmental improvement schemes in areas affected by aggregates extraction.
In the last eight years since the introduction of the Aggregates Levy (2002/3 to 2009/10) the Levy has raised a total of £2500 million. Of this total, £168.1 million (6.7%) has been used to finance the ALSF, of which £18.95 million has been allocated to and spent by local authorities. This means that the proportion of the Levy going to benefit communities in quarrying areas is less than 1% (0.75%) of total Aggregates Levy revenue.
MPA is calling for the ALSF spending on local communities in quarrying areas to be at least 33% and up to 50% of the total annual fund per annum from 2011/12 onwards, and for measures to be introduced to ensure that this funding is used for its intended purpose – to directly benefit local communities in quarrying areas.
Simon van der Byl, Executive Director of the MPA said “A key objective of the ALSF is that Aggregate Levy funding is returned to benefit communities in quarrying areas. Currently the share of Aggregates Levy revenue and ALSF funding in these areas is far too low. Additionally, the funding allocated to local authorities should not be diverted for other spending as is currently sometimes the case.
“We believe that the key use of the Fund should be for local communities, therefore Government must focus more resource in this area. The record of using less than 1% pa of the Aggregates Levy revenue for local community benefit is far too low.
We are encouraged that in a recent Parliamentary debate Environment Minister Dan Norris indicated that his Department was looking at better targeting of ALSF into quarrying communities.” Simon van der Byl added “For as long as the Aggregates Levy remains in force, we will continue to place high emphasis on the proper distribution of the ALSF. We will be making representation to the new Government to both retain the Fund and give local communities a fairer share of the tax take.”