Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

More mining and quarrying topics

More mining and quarrying guidance in alphabetical order

Additional resources

   

The aggregates levy is a tax on rock, gravel and sand that is extracted for sale in the UK.

The tax was introduced:

  • because mining and dredging rock, gravel and sand has an impact on the environment
  • to encourage the use of alternative materials, such as recycled aggregates.

What you must do

If you mine, quarry, dredge or import rock, gravel or sand for sale you must:

  • register for the aggregates levy with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • pay £2.00 per tonne of rock, gravel or sand that you mine, quarry, dredge or import for sale
  • submit a return to HMRC every three months, or annually if agreed with the HMRC
  • keep records about the levy, including accounts and invoices.

There are some exemptions, for example if you use limestone to produce lime or cement.

Further information on the aggregates levy

HMRC: Aggregates levy introduction

Scottish Government: Aggregates levy funding in Scotland

DOENI: Aggregates Levy Credit Agreement Scheme

Mining and quarrying disturbs the land, plants and animals at the site. Closed mines can cause serious pollution from contaminated water in mine shafts, tailings dams, stockpiles, tips and mounds.

  • You are responsible for managing the impacts of your mine or quarry even after it has closed.
  • You should discuss plans for closing your mine or quarry with your environmental regulator as early as possible.
  • Your mine or quarry can play an important role in helping to conserve habitats and species. When you restore a site, you can provide new and sometimes rare habitats for plants and animals.

What you must do if you close all or part of your mine

You must give notice to your environmental regulator at least six months before you close all or part of your mine, including any seam or shaft, or make major changes to the water management regime. This is required by legislation on abandoning mines. You can be fined if you do not give notice.

Contact your environmental regulator

  • You must publish details about your mine closing in at least one local newspaper.
  • You must also comply with the conditions in your mineral planning consent and any other permit about closing your mine.

What you must do to comply with the Mining Waste Directive

The Mining Waste Directive (MWD) brings in new requirements for managing extractive waste at mines and quarries, including closure and after-closure procedures.

Closing extractive waste sites in Northern Ireland

What you must do when you close extractive waste sites and waste facilities will be explained in your planning permission.

Before you start closing your waste facility you must:

  • make sure you have met all conditions relating to managing extractive waste in your planning permission, and
  • have received an authorisation for closure notice from the Department of the Environment (DoE).

The DoE will inspect your site to check that you have met all the conditions in your planning permission. Your waste facility will only be officially closed when the DoE issues you with a final closure notice.

You will be responsible for maintaining, monitoring, controlling, reporting and carrying out corrective measures at your site even after it is officially closed for as long as the Department of the Environment requires. For example, you may be required to minimise leachate from the facility and prevent it from contaminating surface water or groundwater.

Closing extractive waste facilities in Scotland

What you must do when you close extractive waste facilities will be explained in your planning permission.

Before you start closing your waste facility you must meet at least one of the following requirements. You must:

  • have met all relevant conditions in your planning permission, or
  • have permission from your planning authority to begin closure, or
  • have been instructed by your planning authority to close your waste facility.

When you ask your planning authority to finally close your waste facility it will inspect your site and assess your reports on closing the mine.

If you have closed your extractive waste facility correctly your planning authority will:

  • certify that the land affected by the waste facility has been rehabilitated
  • approve the closure of your facility in writing
  • release you from the obligations contained in your financial guarantee apart from any obligations relating to after-closure.

Your waste facility will only be officially closed when your planning authority issues you with a written notice of closure.

You will be responsible for maintaining, monitoring, controlling, reporting and carrying out corrective measures at your site even after it is officially closed for as long as your planning authority requires. For example, you may be required to minimise leachate from the facility and prevent it from contaminating surface water or groundwater.

To find out more about the MWD requirements, see our guidance on extractive waste.

Managing extractive waste in Northern Ireland and Scotland

Good practice for mines and quarries

Prepare a plan for restoring the land and speak to your local community about possible uses of the site once you have stopped mining or quarrying - for example, for sporting facilities, wetlands, grasslands, woodlands, heathlands or parklands.

Use topsoil and overburden to restore the land in stages throughout the life of your mine or quarry.

Consider whether your mine is likely to flood when your operations have ended and, if so, what you will do to prevent pollution.

Prepare a plan for managing your site after your mine or quarry has closed, to include monitoring, draining, treating, seeding, planting, fertilising, watering, or otherwise preparing the land and water for its end use.

Further information on closing mines and quarries

Environment Agency, SEPA and the Coal Authority: Abandoned mines and the water environment (Adobe PDF - 2.34MB)

Scottish Government: PAN 64 - Reclamation of surface mineral workings

Extraction voids are holes you leave in the surface of the land or underground after you have removed minerals and waste rock.

The Mining Waste Directive (MWD) brings in new requirements for managing extractive waste, including managing extraction voids at mines and quarries.

This guidance applies to all mines or quarries in the UK that put extractive waste in extraction voids.

What you must do

Check if you need a permit or permission

You must check with your regulator whether you need planning permission to put your extractive waste into an extraction void.

Managing extractive waste in Northern Ireland and Scotland

Make sure you do not damage the environment or human health

If you put extractive waste into extraction voids to rehabilitate your mine or quarry or to build or maintain access for machinery, haulage ramps, bulkheads, safety barricades or berms in the void, you must make sure:

  • your extractive waste is physically stable and compacted when you put it back in the void
  • your external void walls are stable before you fill the void with extractive waste
  • you consider any impacts on groundwater flow if you use extractive waste that has a low permeability
  • you prevent soil or water pollution and prevent, minimise and monitor any leachate produced
  • you monitor your extractive waste and void to make sure it remains physically stable.

You must not put extractive waste back into a void which will be flooded, unless your regulator has given you permission to do this. 

Mining and quarrying disturbs the land, plants and animals at the site.

Your mine or quarry can play an important role in helping to conserve habitats and species. When you restore a site, you can provide new and sometimes rare habitats for plants and animals.

What you must do

Prevent damage to protected areas at your mine or quarry

You must prevent or repair any damage your activities could have on:

  • protected species, such as bluebells, bats, badgers, newts and nesting birds
  • protected habitats, such as the habitats of wild birds
  • protected sites, such as sites of special scientific interest (SSSI), or areas of special scientific interest in Northern Ireland (ASSI), special areas of conservation, special protected areas, or ramsar wetlands of international importance.

If you have protected species on your site, you may need consent to move them. For further information, see our nature conservation guidance.

Prevent environmental damage at your mine or quarry

If your activities cause or could cause environmental damage to biodiversity, see our guidance on environmental damage to biodiversity.

Check for tree preservation orders at your mine or quarry

Before you do anything to any tree at your site check with your local council, or local planning office in Northern Ireland, whether the trees are protected by a tree preservation order (TPO).

If you remove, prune, cut down, lop, top or ring bark a tree covered by a TPO without planning permission you are committing an offence.

If your site is in a conservation area the trees will automatically be protected.

Contact your local council

Northern Ireland: Local Councils

Check for invasive weeds at your mine or quarry

You should check your site for:

  • invasive weeds, such as Japanese knotweed or giant hogweed
  • injurious weeds in Scotland or noxious weeds in Northern Ireland, such as ragwort or curled dock.

For further information, see our invasive weeds guidance.

Whats new on NetRegs

  • Waste – Duty of Care Roles and Responsibilities

    The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has published a short guide to the duty of care responsibilities including advice and information for waste producers, carriers and those accepting, storing and treating waste.

    https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/waste-duty-care-responsibilities

  • Please let us know your thoughts on our new website

    What do you think about our new and improved website. We want your feedback on what you like, what you don’t like and ways we can continue to improve the website. Follow the link to complete the very short survey: NetRegs website – User feedback

  • NEW guidance on Environmental Management Systems

    We have recently updated and improved our guidance on Environmental Management Systems (EMS). You can find the guidance via the Environmental Topics tab or alternatively select the following link Environmental Management Systems (EMS).

  • Consultation on proposed changes to the packaging recycling business targets

    See NI Future legislation or Scotland Future legislation for details of the Consultation

  • NetRegs SMEnvironment survey 2016

    NetRegs has carried out a survey of environmental awareness among SMEs. There are separate reports for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

  • NIEA Guidance - Greenfield Excavated Matrials in Construction

    NIEA and the CEF have developed a Regulatory Position to promote Sustainable re-use of natural excavated material from Greenfield sites.

    NIEA: Guidance on the Regulation of Greenfield Excavated Materials in Construction and Development

  • New GPP 2 Above Ground Oil Storage

    The replacements for the PPGs are being developed. Now available GPP 2 Above Ground Oil Storage

  • SEPA Consultation on an Intergated Authorisation Framework

    SEPA is asking for your views on the proposals for integrated authorisations.

    Consultation documents

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    NetRegs has been nominated for 3 ENDS Awards with the result being revealed on the 4th of May.

  • NetRegs wins an ENDS Environmental Impact Award

    Knowledge development category winners, see the END Awards

  • EIA (Agriculture) Regulations for Northern Ireland

    Any person intending to alter the use or management of areas of uncultivated or semi-natural land must obtain prior approval from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

    Read more on the DAERA website

  • Download our NEW leaflet today: Duty of Care for waste

    NetRegs have produced a new leaflet for Scottish businesses explaining what you must do to comply with YOUR duty of care for waste.

    Duty of Care for waste (Scotland) leaflet (PDF - 775KB)

     

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Permits

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