Success claimed for aggregates levy

The Treasury has made its firmest claim yet about the impact of the aggregates levy on extraction of primary aggregates.

The Treasury claimed in the pre-Budget report to have seen "early indications" of a reduction in aggregates extraction, without saying anything more.

In January, Economic Secretary John Healey went further, saying: "Emerging evidence suggests that overall primary aggregates extraction has fallen since the levy's introduction; for example, the total outputs from the Annual Minerals Raised Inquiry for Great Britain for 2002 show a decrease of 5.7% on the 2001 figures.

"While there are a number of factors affecting extraction levels, it is clear that the levy has played a significant part in encouraging that reduction."1The claim may be felt to be over-confident, since the levy only took effect in April 2002. It is also disputed by the Quarry Products Association, which argued in a report last autumn that, while the levy has cut sales of crushed rock, it has also stimulated quarrying of levy-exempt minerals (ENDS Report 346, pp 3-5 ).

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