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BAA case returns to European Court

British Aggregates Association’s legal challenge to the Aggregates Levy to return to EU General Court in May

THE British Aggregates Association’s legal challenge to the Aggregates Levy will return to the EU General Court (formerly known as the EU Court of First Instance) in Luxembourg on Monday 16 May.  

This follows the Association’s successful appeal to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in December 2008, when this higher court overturned the 2006 decision by the Court of First Instance (CFI) that the Aggregates Levy was lawful and did not constitute state aid.

Following that ruling, the ECJ sent the case back to the CFI for reconsideration.

At the next hearing in May, lawyers representing both parties will make further short statements to the Court and will then be cross-examined by the judges.

The Court’s decision will be announced at a later date but the BAA’s lawyers have requested that the judgement is issued as quickly as possible, as the case has now been before the courts for nine years, despite the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which the lawyers point out grants ‘the right to an effective remedy’ and a hearing ‘within a reasonable time’.

BAA director Robert Durward said: ‘It would appear that the long-running saga of the BAA’s legal challenge to the Aggregates Levy might now be entering the final stage.

‘The Levy has never produced any environmental benefit and should have been scrapped years ago under the Government’s own tests for environmental taxation.’

Notwithstanding the impending court hearing, in yesterday’s Budget the Government announced that the planned Aggregates Levy rate increase from £2.00 to £2.10 per tonne, which had been due to come into effect from 1 April 2011, has been postponed until April 2012.

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