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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Welcome recognition for the minerals sector

Nigel Jackson

Mineral Products Association welcomes recognition of minerals sector progress in Aggregates Levy report

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 sets out the responses from stakeholders, taking particular note of the input from the 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 recognises that an adequate supply of minerals and construction products is essential for economic growth…’

Significantly, it also recognizes 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 is 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 includes commitments to take forward actions to minimize evasion in the shape of a review of construction site exemptions and a register of companies and sites registered for the levy, which the MPA has welcomed.

The report does 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 it does note these concerns were raised. The MPA says it will engage with HM Treasury and other stakeholders to take these issues forward.

The MPA’s submission raised a number of specific issues that are 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 (pictured), chief executive of the MPA, said: ‘It is welcome to see the Government’s clear recognition of many positive aspects of our industry and its essential role in the economy. That our environmental credentials are recognized not only by government, but also by environmental organizations 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.’

A copy of the report can be downloaded below.

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