Tax on mining

A government minister has raised the possibility of imposing a landfill tax on open-cast mining.

Environment minister Michael Meacher put forward the idea during questions in the House of Commons.

He agreed with Labour MP Helen Jackson that ‘the purpose of the tax is primarily environmental rather than revenue-raising’, and revealed #68m had gone towards environmental projects.

Meacher said: ‘Customs & Excise is undertaking a review of the scheme and the government wants more of the money to go towards helping local authorities to increase recycling facilities’.

He told Congleton MP Ann Winterton – who was concerned that ICI, which pumps brine below ground in Cheshire to extract salt, was forced to pay the tax even though it did no environmental damage – that he was keen to ensure there was a fair conclusion to the dispute.

And Meacher indicated to Labour MP David Taylor that open-cast mining could come under the same tax regime as landfill.

Taylor said: ‘The ugly sister of landfill is open-cast – do you agree that should be brought within the scope of environmental taxes so the real costs incurred by nearby communities are brought into the public domain?’

Meacher replied: ‘I agree major environmental impacts are caused by open-cast, which is being examined under the energy review.’

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