Memorandum submitted by The Green Party
The aims of this tax are presumably to reduce
the environmental impacts of quarrying, by:
(1) promoting building methods which use
less stone and sand;
(2) increasing the use of recycled aggregates;
(3) ensuring that remedial works are carried
out after quarrying.
If there is difficulty in introducing the tax
due to untaxed imports of aggregates and concrete products, and
if the Republic of Ireland cannot be persuaded to introduce their
own tax I would recommend a different approach which is likely
to achieve these aims better.
1. Add an extra fee/deposit to the existing
building control or planning fee system. This would bring consideration
of aggregate content firmly within the control of building designers,
and make the client aware of the issue at a time when something
can still be done to reduce environmental impacts. This fee should
be based on the building type and floor area, previously available
information which is enough to estimate the aggregate content
at this stage. A reduced fee level should be payable for timber
frame buildings or other categories of buildings with lower than
usual aggregate content. When the building is finished it should
be easy to re-adjust the estimate for the actual concrete etc
included if appropriate. A high threshold for refunds should be
set to reduce the number of applications and administrative costs.
For small buildings it should not be worth the applicant re-applying,
and for big buildings there is generally a bill of quantities
to enable the aggregate content to be totalled easily. Having
the local authority fulfil this role would dovetail with their
interests in building standards and waste disposal.
2. Insist that large public sector clients
use building methods with a low virgin aggregate content. Eg use
of recycled bricks, hollow blocks from re-ground concrete, easy
to heat timber and steel framed buildings. Such clients should
also use only licensed recyclers for the removal of waste from
site. Some Research and Development should be funded for this.
3. Require quarry operators to deposit a
bond, and DoE to police remediation after quarrying.
24 October 2001