BAA battle to scrap Aggregates Levy
First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
The British Aggregates Association (BAA) has won its latest legal battle against the Aggregates Levy and been awarded costs but an increase is still on the cards.
The European Union General Court in Luxembourg decreed that the state aid-approval granted to the levy by the EU Commission in 2002 was illegal and annulled it.
BAA lawyers Herbert Smith are studying the judgment and its implications in fine detail.
Quarry operators who are concerned about how the judgment might affect them are advised to contact their trade association for more advice.
BAA Director Robert Durward, "This judgment is a major boost to our campaign. There is still work to be done but at least we are now heading down the home straight."
However, a recent plea from the BAA to the British government's Chancellor George Osborne to get rid of the levy in the recent Budget was not successful. The government announced a delay to this year’s planned 10p increase to £2.10/tonne. The current rate of £2/tonne has been frozen until 1 April, 2013.
"The Aggregates Levy is now dead in the water and must be scrapped to avoid further commercial damage and confusion," said Durward.
The UK Aggregates Levy, which came into force on 1 April, 2002, is a tax on the commercial exploitation in the UK of rock, sand and gravel.
The government says the levy was introduced to address the environmental costs associated with quarrying that are not already covered by regulation, including noise, dust, visual intrusion, loss of amenity and damage to biodiversity.
It claims the levy aims to bring about environmental benefits by making the price of aggregates better reflect these costs and encouraging the use of alternative materials such as recycled materials and certain waste products.
The BAA has been pointing out the problems of the Levy since its inception and has called for it to be abandoned on many occasions.
It has not reduced the need for virgin aggregate, it has not helped the environment and it has not increased genuine recycling, says the organisation.
"Quarry operators are now struggling to survive in light of the recession and a number have already closed down. As it enters its eleventh year, the BAA legal challenge has already set new records for longevity," says the BAA.