Planning and Legislation
BAA is engaged with MHCLG (Housing, Communities and Local Government), the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly over plans to update and improve the planning process. The process is much too cumbersome, time-consuming and expensive, especially for SME companies.
We are actively lobbying for 3-year rolling long-term funding for the Managed Aggregates Supply System (MASS) and Aggregate Working Partiies (AWP) – and the restoration of the national ONS AMRI (Annual Mineral Raised Inquiry) statistics.
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.
Minerals Extraction and Archaeology
Archaeological pre-determinations are an increasing cost and burden to BAA SME members, and has resulted in some mineral sterilisation. The 2008 multi-stakeholder Practice Guide is being revised and we are looking for more prescriptive wording on pre-determination trenching. BAA undertook a member survey in mid-2019 and the results confirmed industry concerns.The revised document and Historic England are to issue the guide as an HEAN Advice Note following consultation In March 2019 – and the final document is awaited probably now in 2020 after the General Election.
The BAA introduced an independent third-party audited safe site certification scheme in 2008 to ensure that workers are competent and legal requirements have been met by the operator. The scheme has been welcomed, highly praised; and endorsed by the HSE. It was awarded the Target Zero logo in recognition of its ability to reduce accidents in the workplace.
Since its introduction in 2002, the BAA stood alone in sustaining a legal challenge against the levy in the UK and EU courts. It has kept its members fully briefed and offered assistance in minimising their levy payments most particularly on moisture rebates and exemption areas.
In February 2019, BAA Executive reached a settlement with HM Government and a full comprehensive review of the levy was announced in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement on 17 March. BAA was a principal participant in the expert working group which has met 4 times so far from April through 8th October. Minutes available here.
Hopefully, we can persuade government to finally abandon this highly unpopular stealth tax. It has no environmental credentials, and government has acknowledged its complications, now somewhat compounded by devolution.
Further meetings with treasury and of the working group will inevitably be delayed into 2020 until after the General Election.
Up to 70% of the levy is paid out of the public purse!!
This is another area of concern to BAA SME members and several potential sites have been sterilised as a result of authorities not differentating between genuine AWS (Ancient Woodlands) – and PAWS (Plantations on Ancient Woodlands) which are mainly recent coniferous woods. We have had contact for some years with both MHCLG and Woodlands Trust to look for a more realistic approach – but so far with little result.
BAA as members of the CBI MInerals Group made input and participated in the preparation and the launch of this publication in July 2018. Minerals represent 16% of the value of the UK economy.