§ Mr. Boateng
[holding answer 30 October 2001]: I have been asked to reply.
The environmental benefits of the aggregates levy will be more efficient use of virgin aggregate and a greater use of recycled alternative. This will reduce the environmental impacts of virgin aggregate extraction—such as damage to biodiversity and visual intrusion. In addition, all revenues raised will be recycled to business through a 0.1 percentage point cut in employers' national insurance contributions and a new £35 million sustainability fund aimed at delivering local environmental benefits to areas subject to the environmental costs of aggregates extraction.
The levy will be charged at £1.60 per tonne on the commercial exploitation of virgin aggregates in the UK, including those imported from abroad. Aggregates exported from the UK will be exempt.
A full regulatory impact assessment was published at the time of Budget 2000. The impact on the actual costs to the end user will be dependent on the commercial decisions of those in the supply chain.