HL Deb 21 February 2005 vol 669 cc181-2WA
Lord Berkeley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much money is raised in the aggregates levy; how much is spent on the aggregate levy sustainability fund: and for what purposes. [HL1207]

Lord Whitty

In the financial year 2003 to 2004 aggregates levy receipts for the UK were £339 million.

In the same financial year Defra's Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund spent £19.5 million in England on the following objectives:

Minimising the demand for primary aggregates;

Promoting environmentally friendly extraction and transport; and

Reducing the local effects of aggregate extraction.

In Wales £1.35 million was spent on the following objectives:

Providing limited compensation to help mineral planning authorities revoke or amend existing minerals permissions; and

Promoting the use of alternative materials.

In Scotland, the Scottish Executive administering its aggregates levy funding through the Sustainable Action Fund, spent £3.2 million. The aggregates levy funding which Scotland receives was used to support a range of sustainable development projects and community environmental renewal projects.

Northern Ireland was allocated £972,000 and this allocation forms part of the totality of public expenditure moneys available for public services in Northern Ireland. It has not been ring-fenced for similar uses to the fund as in the other parts of the UK.

In recognition of the adverse economic effects of the tax peculiar to Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland quarry industry was granted a partial derogation from the aggregates levy. Since then, the Department of Environment has developed and implemented the Aggregates Levy Credit Scheme (ALCS) for the Northern Ireland aggregates industry acting as agents for Her Majesty's Customs and Excise.

The ALCS enables operators to obtain tax relief at a rate of 80 per cent of the full rate of the levy in return for compliance with a code of practice which addresses 15 areas of environmental risk. Many of the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund's objectives will be met through the operation of the ALCS. Policy development on the use of Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund resources will concentrate on objectives of the fund not addressed through the ALCS.