Aggregates tax faces High Court challenge

The tax covers the commercial exploitation of crushed rock, sand and gravel.

Operators of sites producing aggregates would be liable to register and account for the tax, while imported aggregates would be taxed at their first point of sale or use.

The association claimes the tax amounts to a 35% price hike and alleges it breaks EU law by distorting competition – an equivalent French tax operates at 6p per tonne – and the European Convention on Human Rights.

It has warned the aggregates tax would pave the way for complete domination of the quarrying industry by the five major international players who already claim 80% of the UK’s output.

The possibility of an aggregates tax was raised in the July 1997 Budget, when Labour first came to power, with draft legislation published in 1999.

The government warned the tax would be imposed if the industry did not implement or commit to implementing an enhanced package of measures to reduce the environmental damage from the extraction of aggregates.

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