Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Northern Ireland quarries face closure as UK levy drives up cross-border price divide

By Clare Weir

Published 15/02/2011

Quarry owners in border areas on Northern Ireland could be put out of business because a tax on UK firms means they are losing out to rivals in the Republic, it was claimed.

The Quarry Products Association of Northern Ireland (QPANI) said manufacturers of concrete and asphalt products on this side of the border must pay £2 per tonne on their products both here and for export.

Meanwhile, competitors in the Irish Republic can import materials into Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK with no fee.

After an EU General Court decision and subsequent suspension of the aggregates levy credit scheme in December, Northern Ireland lost its 80% derogation on the full level of the UK aggregates levy.

Gordon Best, regional director of QPANI, said: "The fact that we have a 300-mile border with another state that has no similar levy and that the levy represents some 49% of the ex-quarry sale price of a tonne of stone in Northern Ireland means this levy has to be changed," he said.

"QPANI are now seeking the support of our MPs to influence the Treasury to immediately assist the industry in Northern Ireland."

One quarry owner in Co Tyrone has claimed that 12 of his staff could be laid off because the firm has lost out on supplying aggregate to a project just four miles away from his depot.

Robert Riddles of Riddles Bros Ltd in Strabane said he had been asked to supply 65,000 tonnes of aggregate to a new wind farm development at Carrickatayne, Donemana. But he said the £2 aggregate levy meant his company "will not be price competitive".

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph