V22.102 The consultation process
Before the aggregates levy was introduced in the United Kingdom, a lengthy development and consultation process took place. In its July 1997 Budget, the Government announced that it was to commission research into the environmental costs of quarrying, and in particular the aggregates industry1. Research was carried out by, and on behalf of, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) during 1998. This research led the Government to believe that there were significant environmental costs associated with the winning and transportation of aggregates, and that these costs were not already governed by regulation.
In June 1998, Customs published a public consultation paper, thereby launching the formal consultation process2. Later in that year, the Quarry Products Association (QPA) – representing the producers of approximately 90% of UK aggregates – put forward a package of voluntary measures which it hoped would dissuade the Government from introducing an aggregates tax. In response, the Government asked for proposals for an enhanced package to be put forward. It was, in July 1999, by which time Customs had concluded their initial consultation exercise and prepared draft legislation for discussion with industry.
In November 1999, the Government welcomed the QPA package but said that it was still minded to introduce a tax unless further improvements to the voluntary package were put forward and found acceptable. By the Budget of March 2000, the Government had concluded that the voluntary measures would not be acceptable and it announced that an aggregates levy would be