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Aggregates levy case rejected by European Court

The European Court of First Instance (CFI) yesterday dismissed the British Aggregate Association’s case against the aggregates levy.

The BAA’s case claimed that the European Commission’s state aid approvals for the exemptions and reliefs associated with the aggregates levy should not have been granted. The association also asserted that the state aid issues had not been properly investigated by the EC. These claims were rejected by the Court of the First Instance.

A press statement issued by the CFI following the ruling explained that ‘the decision to introduce an environmental levy…falls within the power of the Member States to set their priorities in the economic, fiscal and environmental fields. The United Kingdom was accordingly free to determine, as part of its environmental policy, the minerals used as aggregates which it considered appropriate to tax and to exempt certain other materials.’

Commenting on the judgement, BAA secretary Peter Huxtable said the Association was disappointed by the Court’s decision. ‘We will need to study and digest the details of the ruling, and seek further advice from our legal team, before deciding on where we might go from here.’

The BAA has two months to register an appeal, limited to questions of law, following the court’s judgement.

The Quarry Products Association’s director general, Simon van der Byl, said the Court of the First Instance’s judgement had clarified the status of the aggregates levy after a period of some uncertainty. ‘We have advised our member companies of the judgement, with the short message being that there is currently no change.’

Mr van der Byl added that the QPA would continue to lobby against the levy, saying there remained a profound lack of evidence for its claimed green benefit, with environmental performance improving across the industry in spite of the levy, rather than because of it.

 

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