Quarrying industry asked for measures to reduce the environmental damage
The quarrying industry has been asked by the British Government to submit an enhanced package of voluntary measures to reduce the environmental impact of quarrying.
The demand follows the publication of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) research results showing that there are significant environmental costs associated with quarrying, including noise, dust, visual intrusion, loss of amenity and damage to biodiversity.
The Government believes that there is a case, in principle, for a tax on the extraction of aggregates. Draft legislation for a tax on hard rock, sand and gravel used as aggregates is to be published shortly.
However, before coming to a final decision on whether to introduce a tax, the Government will first pursue the possibility of an enhanced package of voluntary measures with the quarrying industry.
The Government considers that the industry’s initial proposal for a voluntary package falls well short of what is justified by the environmental costs of quarrying.
Economic Secretary Patricia Hewitt, said: “Research shows that there are significant environmental costs to quarrying. This suggests that there is a case, in principle, for a tax on the extraction of aggregates.
“But before coming to a final decision on whether to proceed with a tax, the Government would first like to pursue the possibility of an enhanced voluntary package of environmental improvements with the industry. Should the industry not be able to commit to an acceptably improved offer, or fail to deliver an agreed package of voluntary measures, the Government would introduce a tax.
“Richard Caborn and I will be meeting representatives from the quarrying industry shortly to begin these negotiations.”