UK launches aggregates policy review

Government to green quarrying guidance in time for introduction of aggregates tax

The UK environment ministry released today a consultation document on making aggregates supply policy more sustainable. The document marks the beginning of a consultation that will end just as a tax on virgin aggregates, announced in March, comes into effect.

Announcement of the UK£1.60 (euros 2.71) per tonne tax applicable from 2002 angered the UK's quarrying industry, which had expected the government to accept instead a package of voluntary measures (ENDS Daily 22 March).

Today's consultation document focuses on how local authorities should decide on aggregate need in future. "Existing planning guidance on aggregates supply has been widely criticised as demonstrating a 'predict and provide' mentality," said planning minister Nick Raynsford. The government wants local governments to prioritise the use of recycled materials in place of new extraction and to conduct more regular reviews of aggregate need in order to avoid overestimation.

The countryside NGO Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) said it hoped changes to aggregates policy would make approval of new quarries "a matter of last resort".

Follow Up:
UK environment ministry, tel: +44 20 79 44 30 00, and consultation paper; CPRE tel: +44 20 79 76 64 33.

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