The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has welcomed recognition of the sector’s essential role in the economy and the improvement in its environmental credentials in a report published by HM Treasury in response to the Aggregates Levy review. The report set out the responses from stakeholders, taking particular note of the input from MPA and its affiliated trade bodies MPA Scotland and MPA Northern Ireland.
The Report underlines the importance of the sector to the economy at this challenging time:
“The UK government recognises that it is essential that there is a sufficient supply of minerals to provide the infrastructure, buildings, energy and goods that the nations need. They make an essential contribution to the country’s prosperity and quality of life. …the government also recognises that an adequate supply of minerals and construction products is essential for economic growth..”
Significantly, it also recognises the high environmental standards of the sector:
“the government recognises the quarrying industry as well placed to deliver biodiversity net gain, with quarries and their wider estates often providing habitats for wildlife both during and after operation. The government encourages the quarrying industry to continue its efforts to ensure its operations maintain high environmental standards.”
MPA research into the extent of recycled aggregates was also cited, with the report acknowledging that “at around 29 percent, the share of recycled and secondary aggregates in total UK aggregate sales now is higher than any country in Europe.”
The report included commitments to take forward actions to minimise evasion in the shape of a review of construction site exemptions and a register of companies and sites registered for the levy, which MPA welcomes.
The report did not contain specific next steps or proposals on the headline issues of the future rate of the levy, the restoration of the Sustainability Fund or a Community Fund or funding support for the mineral planning system, although the report did note these concerns were raised. MPA will engage with Treasury and other stakeholders to take these issues forward.
MPA’s submission raised a number of specific issues that were referenced in the review, including potential market distortions between different parts of the UK and enforcement issues on borrow pits which are located outside the footprint of their construction project, with steps set out to tackle them.
Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive of MPA, said:
“It is welcome to see Government’s clear recognition of many positive aspects of our industry and its essential role in the economy. That our environmental credentials are recognised not only by Government but also environmental organisations is particularly encouraging given the massive efforts and initiatives MPA members have developed and adopted over the last 10 years.
“We will continue to press for no widening of the levy to other minerals, no deepening of or increase to the levy, a Community Fund, funding support for the mineral planning system and action on evasion.
“Our industry is an essential part of the economic recovery and future plans for infrastructure and housing growth so clarity over the future of this tax is important.”
The Report can be found here.
All quotes from pp16-17.
The Review, launched in 2019, looked at the tax which was introduced in 2002. The rate has been frozen at £2 per tonne since 2009, having been introduced at £1.60. MPA has always criticised the evidence base and methodology for setting this rate, and our submission to the review demonstrated the lack of environmental benefits from the levy.
For further information, please contact Robert McIlveen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: 0207 963 8000.