Planning and Legislation
BAA is actively involved with CLG (Communities and Local Government), the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly over plans to update and improve the planning process. We are making it known that the process is much too cumbersome, time-consuming and expensive, especially for SME companies. Furthermore, barriers are increasingly being placed both in accessing minerals and on our ability to provide society’s essential construction materials by the ongoing growth in National Parks and AONB classifications.
We are also raising concerns over the role of the Environment Agency in England and Wales in areas where local planners should have control. We are resisting the gold-plating and over-bureaucratic transposition of the EU Mining Waste Directive. The BAA has also taken several regional authorities to task on their unilateral disregard of national mineral guidelines and policies.
The BAA has introduced an independently audited safe site certification scheme to ensure that workers are competent and legal requirements have been met by the operator. The scheme has been welcomed and endorsed by the HSE and awarded the Target Zero logo in recognition of its ability to reduce accidents in the workplace.
Since its introduction in 2002, the BAA has stood alone in sustaining a legal challenge against the levy in the UK and EU courts. In December 2008 the BAA successfully appealed to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Brussels against a previous judgement by a lower Court, the Court of First Instance (CFI). This means that the levy is almost certainly going to be deemed illegal in the near future. Throughout this long process, the BAA has kept its members fully briefed on what steps they must take to protect their position and reclaim the maximum amount possible in the event of a successful outcome. BAA has also offered members assistance in minimising their levy payments most particularly on moisture rebates and exemption areas.
EU inspired legislation which affects all road transport operators and is the forerunner to the Working Time Directive. As quarries are almost entirely dependent on road haulage and our freight is less valuable than most other industries this legislation has caused major problems.
The BAA is strongly opposed to the efforts in Brussels to remove the UK opt-out from the 48-hour week as it will cause staffing problems, cripple the haulage industry and drive up imports.