Quarry fund cash blocked

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Community projects are set to miss out after a scheme that provided funding to areas affected by quarrying was axed.

Up to £330,000 has been available, each year, to groups across Derbyshire with a variety of community schemes across the High Peak among those to benefit.

The decision, set to be confirmed in the budget, has been criticised by Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive of Mineral Products Association, who had been urging the Government to increase the share of Aggregates Levy Revenue Fund going back into local communities.

“Instead Government has chosen to increase the levy rate and keep 100 per cent of the revenue for Central Government.”

He said £18,200,000 of aggregates levy was collected annually in Derbyshire but none of this revenue would be specifically allocated to the county.

Mr Jackson said: “We are now calling on Government to ensure that ALSF funding for Derbyshire is at least maintained for future years.”

High Peak MP Andrew Bingham said: “I know that Ministers have had to look very carefully where the Government can make best use of the available funds given the very tight spending context.

“Unfortunately, the Government decided that it is no longer in a position to continue the funding of the ALSF beyond the end of this financial year.”

Mr Bingham said it was a consequence of the economic inheritance left by the previous Government.

He said DEFRA could provide funding for community projects through its Rural Development Programme for England and its support for Natural England and Action with Communities in Rural England.