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No Budget joy for aggregates lobby

MATERIALS

CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer Gordon Brown has underlined the government's support of a tax on aggregates despite claims it is not delivering any benefit to the environment.

In his Budget the chancellor refused to give ground on the aggregates levy, holding it at £1.60 per tonne of newly quarried stone, ignoring arguments that it actually has an adverse effect on the environment.

Representatives for product manufacturers and quarriers argued that despite the Treasury claiming the tax had caused 'reductions in noise and vibration, dust and other emissions to air, visual intrusion, loss of amenity and damage to wildlife habitats' it had failed to back this up with any evidence linking alleged improvements to the levy.

Michael Ankers, chief executive of the Construction Products Association, said:'The arguments for retaining the aggregates tax completely misunderstand the adverse impact this is having on the environment.'

Simon van der Byl, director general of the Quarry Products Association, said:'Given the continued inability of the Treasury to produce any meaningful environmental evidence in support of the aggregates levy we are dismayed it has not taken steps towards abolishing this unnecessary and ineffectual tax.'

The aggregates tax was introduced in April 2002 to boost the use of secondary and recycled aggregates while cutting the environmental impact of quarries.