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12 January 2011

MPA Says Scrapping of Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund Works Against 'Localism'

MPA has expressed serious concern at DEFRA’s decision to scrap the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) at the end of this financial year.  This decision was announced on the DEFRA website just before Christmas.

The ALSF has been and is the means by which about 7% of the Aggregates Levy revenue is recycled into communities, NGOs and other stakeholders to fund projects delivering conservation, local community and other sustainability benefits.   It was a critical element of the original levy scheme seen by Government at the time as a positive means of bringing the industry and communities closer together and also influencing procurement behaviour.

Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive of the Mineral Products Association, said: “There is no justification for this decision.  The ALSF is an integral part of the Aggregates Levy scheme and is the means by which a small proportion of the revenue raised by the Levy brings real benefit to communities in areas affected by aggregate extraction and generates very significant conservation successes. 

“The ending of the Fund would be an enormous own goal for DEFRA and Government, as it runs contrary to the key objectives of empowering local communities through the “localism” concept and improving biodiversity and conservation. Given that the planned April increase in the Aggregates Levy rate will generate an additional £15 million pa of tax revenue the ALSF can and should be afforded.

“We have been calling for more of the fund (50%) to be allocated to local communities to create the opportunity for communities to say yes to extraction as opposed to just saying no. And, as the independent evaluation of the ALSF carried out for DEFRA in 2010 concluded, the ALSF has been extremely good value for money and there is a strong case for sustaining it.

“We would therefore call on DEFRA to review this decision to scrap the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) and ensure that key initiatives supported by the ALSF continue to be financially supported by Government.  It is likely that countless organisations will not welcome this decision and we invite them to join MPA in leading the campaign to see the ALSF retained for as long as the Aggregates Levy, which we continue to oppose, exists.”

ENDS

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