Background

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The Aggregates Levy was introduced in 2002 and is an environmental tax on commercial exploitation of aggregates. The scheme has EU approval and is currently set to run at least until March 2011. It is hoped however that the Scheme will be extended beyond this date. The Scheme covers every aspect of the quarry operation from dust, noise & blasting to remediation and community liaison.

It's aim is two fold:

1. To address the environmental costs associated with aggregates extraction not already covered by regulation

2. To encourage the use of alternative sources such as recycled materials and certain waste products.

The Levy is set at £2.00 per tonne however by joining the scheme operators are entitled to a reduction of 80% in the Levy i.e. only paying £0.40 per tonne. Operators who sign up to the scheme enter a legal agreement to operated within regulatory framework and agree to carry out environmental improvements at their sites on an incremental basis.

Each site has to be audited on a bi-annual basis by an external IEMA auditor with a report submitted to the Aggregates Levy Team of the DOE. The Aggregates team will then issue an Improvement Notice outlining a list of improvements which the operator must carry out. Failure to carry out these improvements could result in the Levy certificate being withdrawn and exclusion from the Scheme. The DOE visit every site as part of the auditing process and where necessary carry out additional visits to ensure satisfactory progress is being made.

For more information please contact:
Pamela Scurfield - Downpatrick Office