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CLEANER QUARRIES AND FEWER LORRIES - £58.6M FUND ANNOUNCED

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Local communities will have the chance to reduce the impact of ...
Local communities will have the chance to reduce the impact of

quarrying on their environment thanks to a new fund launched by

environment minister Michael Meacher today.

The£58.6m Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund will reduce damage to

the environment from extracting aggregates such as sand, stone and

gravel used in construction by:

- Improving areas where aggregate extraction has taken place.

- Helping to reduce demand for primary materials by research into

alternatives, and encouraging recycling and re-use of aggregates

through WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme)

- Promoting new methods for extracting and moving aggregates to

reduce environmental damage.

As a result of the recent consultation on the distribution of the

fund,£800,000 per year has been made available for a pilot scheme

funding local projects through Leicestershire, Derbyshire and

Somerset CCs, all areas of major aggregate extraction.

The Minerals Industry Research Organisation has been invited to take

part in research into sustainable development, and local groups and

councils will develop improvement schemes.

Mr Meacher said:

'The Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund is another step along the

road to achieving sustainable development. It looks to address

quarrying's impact on the environment in three ways: by improving

existing sites, reducing the need for new quarrying and making any

new quarrying more sensitive.

'It is good news, not just for people who live near quarries, but

also for those who use roads that become congested with traffic to

and from quarries.'

The fund is financed by the aggregates levy, which came into effect

on 1 April 2002. It will run for two years initially -£29.3m will be

available each year.

The funds will be distributed through the Countryside Agency, English

Heritage, English Nature, WRAP, DTI's Construction Innovation and

Research Management Programme, DTLR's Clean Up programme and Freight

Facilities Grant. Using existing programmes will make best use of

expertise, ensure funds are used quickly and reduce administration

costs.

Notes

1. The Aggregates Levy was introduced by the Finance Act 2001 and

came into force on 1 April 2002. The levy has been set at£1.60 per

tonne of aggregates produced and will bring about environmental

benefits by making the price of aggregates better reflect their true

social and environmental costs.

2. Some of the revenue from the levy will be recycled to business

through a cut to employers' National Insurance contributions of 0.1

per cent, to lessen the financial impact on the aggregate extraction

industry.

3. The fund is£35m for the UK for each of the next two

financial years. The share for England is£29.3m. The devolved

administrations will make separate announcements.

4. Funds will be allocated as follows:

For 2002-3,£6.5m to reduce demand for primary aggregates,£6m to

promote more environmentally friendly extraction and transport,£16m

to reduce the effect of local aggregate extraction and£0.8m for the

local schemes run through Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Somerset

CCs.

For 2003-4,£9m to reduce demand for primary aggregates,£6m to

promote more environmentally friendly extraction and transport£13.5m

to reduce the effect of local aggregate extraction and£0.8m for the

local schemes run through Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Somerset

CCs.

5. Local authorities are expected to be closely involved in working

up and bringing forward local projects to improve areas which have

been affected by aggregate extraction.

6. The government's consultation paper and an analysis of the

responses received are available on the Defra website .

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