MPA calls for shift in focus of ALSF
THE Mineral Products Association is calling for a shift in the focus of the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) to local communities, which would support the Government’s ‘localism’ agenda by giving people in areas affected by quarrying a greater say over the use of the fund.
Nigel Jackson, chief executive MPA, said: ‘In the first eight years of the ALSF from 2002/3 local communities received only 11% of total ALSF spending. This is too little and represents a missed opportunity to improve the links between the industry and local communities affected by aggregate extraction.
‘We believe the share of the ALSF going directly to local communities should be increased by up to between 33% and 50% of the value of the fund.
‘This would establish a closer link between the Levy paid by local companies and the potential use of the fund in local communities to give local people a greater opportunity to influence projects of direct benefit to them.’
The MPA has also made representations to government for the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) to be retained for as long as the Aggregates Levy itself is paid. However, the Association remains opposed to the Levy and has requested that the indexation, which was unfrozen in the recent emergency Budget, is frozen and that the quantum of the Levy is reduced to reflect the progress the industry has made since the Levy’s inception to reduce its operational and environmental impact.
‘The ALSF was introduced in recognition that the Aggregates Levy itself is a pretty blunt instrument which uses sales volumes as a proxy for environmental impacts,’ said Mr Jackson. ‘The ALSF was designed to generate more direct and visible sustainability benefits for the Levy and the funds allocated to local communities in quarrying areas are a key element of the ALSF.
‘We believe enabling local people to be more involved in influencing ALSF projects of direct benefit to them will help ‘make the link’ between the need for essential aggregates and the benefits that arise in both the built and natural environment.
‘We hope that the outcome of the spending review will allow the ALSF to continue to generate sustainability benefits and that there is an opportunity to redirect a significantly higher share of the fund into local communities.’