Minerals Plan: Key Issues & Options

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Comment Information

Comment Information
Document Section Derby & Derbyshire Minerals Core Strategy: Key Issues & Options Part One: Background Information Chapter 3: A General Portrait of Derbyshire the Natural Heritage section [List all comments on this document part]
Comment ID /3910401/1
Respondent Debbie Alston [List all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 13 Sep 2010
The Minerals and Waste industry can have a profound impact on biodiversity. It very pleasing to see that the Key Issues and Options paper shows that while site allocation must take the presence of habitats and species into consideration, the site restoration can add considerably to biodiversity, by creating new habitats.

The Review of Old Mineral Permissions is also an opportunity to review site restorations in light of best practice and a possible change in circumstances such as lack of available infill.

The Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity partnership is currently half way through a project to quantify the biodiversity contribution of the aggregates industry in within the LBAP area (Derbyshire outside the White Peak, Dark Peak and South West Peak Natural Areas). Phase I of the project digitised the agreed restoration schemes of a number of aggregate sites and looked at the contribution towards maintenance, management and creation habitat targets for the current LBAP period (2004-2010) and proposed for the next LBAP period post 2010. Phase II is currently underway and is to survey those sites to look at the quality of those habitats.

The table below details the summarised data from the sites I the project.

Pre 2004 2004- 2010 Post 2010 Pre 2004 2004- 2010 Post 2010 Pre 2004 2004- 2010 Post 2010
LBAP Target Maintenance Creation Management
Hedgerow (metres) 4,894.16 8,226.54 6,456.14 1,403.65 9,978.05 13,791.1 6,188.19 8,859.58
Woodland (hectares) 30.4 31.85 29.94 9.05 13.97 52.1 16.61 12.92
Wet Woodland (hectares) 17.07 10.39 1.02 18.71 29.1
Neutral Grassland (hectares) 5.8 10 5.8
Calcareous Grassland (hectares) 2.41 2.41 2.41 4.27 38.52 5.23
Wet Grassland (hectares) 40.96 53.25
Reedbed (hectares) 6.31 6.31 6.31 7.77 12.66 7.77 7.77 20.43
Swamp (hectares) 1.18 1.18
Pond (individuals) 15 15 1 9 11 2 9 34
Standing Open water (hectares) 38.32 4.21 4.21 75.17 12.94 66.86 44.21 51.37

The desk top study has shown that the aggregates sites within the LBAP area have made considerable contributions towards the current LBAP targets. This is especially evident for hedgerow creation with almost 20% of the 50km target and with 42% of the 30ha reedbed creation target planted on aggregate sites.

With the agreed restoration schemes there will also be a significant contribution to future LBAP targets. Some of the sites will be restored in the long-term beyond the next LBAP period, eg Whitwell Quarry is likely to provide approximately 32ha of calcareous grassland, but after 2025 when the current permission runs out. The majority of the identified hedgerow creation is likely to be within the next LBAP period.

In addition, coal extraction sites and their restoration schemes have also been looked at and collectively they showed that between 2004 and 2010, the schemes created the following:
- 154ha of woodland
- 35ha of neutral grassland
- 5.5ha of acid grassland
- 1 ha of reedbed
- 25 ponds
- 40km of hedgerow

There are two Local Biodiversity Action Plans in the county and both are currently in a period of review as the current plans run to the end of 2010.

The next period for the Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Action Plan, 2011-2020, will have area action plans, rather than habitat and species action plans. Each plan will identify opportunities within the area for habitat creation and mineral sites, where nature conservation is included within the restoration scheme, is an obvious example of one. Equally the plans will identify potential threats/issues in the areas. Mineral site allocation could, in some places, also be seen as a threat/issue.

I believe that the majority of mineral permissions have aftercare period of 5 years as standard, with the occasional having a longer period of monitoring. I am aware that some of the mineral companies are talking to appropriate bodies about managing the sites post aftercare, but this is not standard across the board. I would view this lack of long term future certainty as a key issue, especially where nature conservation is a major component. It would be desirable, from a nature conservation point of view, to secure the long term future of these sites and their appropriate management early on in the post approval period. Nationally I know that the RSBP are working with mineral companies through the Nature After Mineral programme and locally the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust have declared an interest in sites, specifically along the Trent Valley. With this in mind, we can record the habitats created through restoration schemes as long term features of the landscape, rather than short lived habitats which may be destroyed once the aftercare period has been completed.