The quarry firms backed down when the government agreed to conduct a thorough review of the aggregates levy.
Treasury minister Robert Jenrick said: “Longstanding litigation on the aggregates levy has now been concluded, with the litigation against the government and the European Commission. The government remains committed to devolving the aggregates levy to the Scottish parliament following the conclusion of this litigation and is working with the Scottish government to work out the next steps.”
He continued: “The aggregates levy has been largely unchanged since its introduction in 2002. The government will now conduct a comprehensive review of the levy over the next year, working closely with the Scottish government, and consulting the Welsh government and Northern Ireland executive throughout. The review will be comprehensive, looking at the latest evidence about the objectives of the levy, its effectiveness in meeting those objectives, and the design of the levy, including the impact of devolution.
“The terms of reference for the review will be published in spring 2019 and a working group will be established to inform it. The review will aim to conclude by the end of 2019.”
Following introduction of the levy in 2002, the British Aggregates Association (BAA), which represents aggregate producers, has challenged the government both in the UK and EU through a series of legal claims.
BAA chairman Paul McManus said: “It is entirely due to the efforts of BAA and its members acting on behalf of the overall aggregate industry in Great Britain and Northern Ireland that we have now reached this point. We have finally persuaded HM Treasury of the need for a comprehensive root and branch re-visit and review of the levy, its design and objectives; and look forward to us being a principal participant in the expert working group.”