Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs
The Aggregate Levy was introduced in 2002 as a ‘green’ tax on the commercial extraction of aggregate – hard rock, sand, gravel and shale. A proportion of the revenue raised has been used to support capital projects in communities affected by active aggregate extraction.
I have considered the future sustainability of the Fund against the background of resources available for the period 2017-21. The equivalent scheme in England closed in 2011 as a direct consequence of initial austerity cuts. In Wales we have sought to maintain the Fund for as long as possible.
This year the Welsh Government is once again faced with difficult spending decisions against a background of competing strategic priorities, and hard choices have had to be made. The budget available to the Fund has now dropped to the point where its impact has become limited. Regrettably, therefore, I have made the decision to close the Fund with effect from 31 March 2017.