Towards a Minerals Local Plan for Derbyshire and Derby

Towards a Strategy for Vein Minerals

Next Steps

7.1       Since the Issues and Options consultation was undertaken, the NPPF has been published, which introduced several significant changes to the planning system. It is therefore necessary to revisit that exercise and the messages obtained from it and the interim Sustainability Appraisal in light of this new policy and guidance and also to take account of more recent information relating to vein mineral production and demand. We need to ascertain whether or not the approach you advocated in 2010 remains appropriate for 2014 and beyond and would like you to consider the options presented below.

Issue 1 – Emerging Approach to the Provision of Vein Minerals

7.2       The main messages from the Issues and Options consultation paper concerning the approach of the new Minerals Local Plan to the provision of vein minerals is described above. That consultation however was undertaken prior to the publication of both the NPPF and NPPG which set out current Government policy for the provision for new mineral extraction (see National and Other Policy Considerations section above) and it is necessary to revisit those messages in light of these new policies.

7.3       In summary mineral planning authorities are required to plan for the steady and adequate supply of minerals (including vein minerals) by one of three ways. In order of priority these are; designating specific sites where viable resources are known to exist, designating preferred areas (areas of known resources where planning permission might reasonably be anticipated), or designating areas of search for areas where knowledge of mineral resources may be less certain but within which planning permission may be granted. Mineral planning authorities are required to identify and include policies for extraction of mineral resource of local and national importance in their area and set out environmental criteria, in line with the policies of the NPPF, against which planning applications will be assessed.

Commentary

7.4       The Plan area is one of a limited number of locations in the UK where vein minerals are known to exist and the MLP will therefore make provision for the extraction of that resource and set out how individual proposals will be assessed and determined. Where practicable, the new MLP will adopt an approach to the provision of vein minerals in accordance with the policy guidance of the NPPF and NPPG. For reasons described below, however, it will not be possible to adopt an approach which meets the priority order stated above.

7.5       Firstly, it is not possible to quantify what constitutes a steady and adequate supply of vein minerals. The review of remaining resources of vein minerals in the Plan area indicates that it is not possible to quantify the scale of resources which are present. In addition, the demand for vein minerals has fluctuated in recent years and the demand for UK sourced vein minerals has been affected by the availability of cheaper imported sources.

7.6       Secondly, only very limited information is currently available to the Councils about the location and economic viability of vein minerals in the Plan area, and in the absence of further details from a would-be developer, it is not possible to indicate sites or areas where extraction would be acceptable. In recent years there have been no expressions of interest from the vein minerals industry about possible extraction sites in the Plan area.

7.7       The geological information which is readily available would enable the Plan to indicate the broad extent of the area where vein minerals are known to, or are likely to exist, effectively identifying areas of search. Again, however in the absence of further details, the Plan could not indicate that extraction would be likely to be acceptable in these areas. All planning applications have to be determined on the merits of the individual proposal, taking account of all relevant factors about the site, the method of extraction and environmental impacts.

         
   

It is suggested, therefore, that the approach of the Minerals Local Plan to the provision for vein minerals will:

 

·         include a plan identifying the area or areas where vein minerals are known to exist or are likely to be found

·         not attempt to indicate the potential acceptability of extraction within those areas

·         not set out any targets or provision figures for vein minerals

 

 
 
   

Do you agree with the approach described above?

 

 
 
 

If you consider that additional and/or alternative requirements should form the approach of the Plan to the provision for vein minerals, please state them clearly and provide reasons for your suggestion.

 

 

 

 Issue 2 – The Need for a Specific Environmental Criteria Policy for Vein Minerals

7.8       The NPPF and NPPG state that minerals local plans should set out environmental criteria against which mineral extraction planning applications will be assessed to ensure that permitted operations do not have unacceptable adverse impacts. The MLP will include a set of criteria for the assessment and determination of vein mineral extraction. However, the recommended list of environmental criteria set out in the NPPG is a general list intended to apply to all mineral extraction developments. It does not identify specific environmental criteria for vein mineral extraction operations. We wish to ascertain whether you consider that the issues raised by vein mineral extraction developments merit the inclusion of a specific criterion policy or whether proposals should be assessed against a universal criteria policy for all minerals.

Commentary

7.9       Apart from energy based mineral extraction developments, neither the NPPF nor the NPPG indicates a need for separate criteria based policies for individual minerals. The inclusion of one criteria policy (apart from energy based minerals) would provide clarity and consistency, avoiding unnecessary duplication. The list provided by the NPPG would address most of the environmental, amenity and health issues which could potentially be raised by most forms of mineral extraction developments. You may consider however, that vein mineral extraction developments raise other specific or different issues which warrant a separate policy for such developments. Such issues could include the way vein minerals are contained within host rock requiring the removal of a proportion of that mineral (mainly limestone in Derbyshire) to obtain the vein ore and also any impacts arising from the location of the resource adjacent or near to the Peak District National Park area. In response to the Issues and Options exercise, you indicated a desire to minimise the volume of host rock that was extracted along with the vein mineral and any criteria for this would be specific to vein minerals only.

Do you agree that the set of environmental criteria to be used to assess the acceptability of vein mineral extraction developments can be contained in one policy that is applied to other forms of non-energy minerals developments?

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Issue 3 – The Criteria to be Used to Assess Development Proposals for Vein Mineral Extraction

7.10     Whether the MLP will or will not contain a separate criteria policy for vein mineral developments, we need to establish the actual criteria that will be used to determine individual development proposals. We are now asking for your views to help determine the list of criteria.

7.11     The National Planning Policy Framework advocates that local planning authorities

7.11     The National Planning Policy Framework advocates that local planning authorities should set out environmental criteria, in line with the policies in the Framework, against which minerals planning applications will be assessed to ensure that permitted operations do not have unacceptable impacts on a range of issues. The National Planning Practice Guidance, March 2014, further clarifies the environmental issues which mineral planning authorities could address in the determination of planning applications for mineral extraction developments. These are listed below for reference. This list of issues also correlates with the main issues which have been raised in the processing of all mineral development proposals, including vein mineral developments submitted to Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council in recent years.

 

Criteria

  • Criteria for noise associated with the operation
  • Criteria for the assessment of dust
  • Criteria for the assessment of the impact on air quality
  • Criteria for assessing lighting
  • Criteria for the assessment of the level of visual intrusion into the local setting and the wider landscape caused by the placement of any building or structure within the application site area
  • Criteria for the assessment of the impacts on landscape character
  • Criteria to assess the importance of archaeological and heritage features
  • Criteria to assess the generation and impact of traffic
  • Criteria to assess the level of risk of contamination of land
  • Criteria to assess the impact on soil resources
  • Criteria to assess the impact on the best and most versatile agricultural land
  • Criteria for flood risk
  • Criteria to assess the impact on the water environment
  • Criteria for land stability and subsidence
  • Criteria to assess the impact on internationally, nationally or local designated wildlife sites, protected habitats and species, and ecological networks
  • Criteria to assess impact on nationally protected geological and geomorphological sites and features
  • Criteria to establish site restoration and aftercare requirements
  • Criteria for assessing the proportion of host rock extraction relative to that of vein mineral
  • Criteria for assessing any impacts on the Peak District National Park

 

Commentary

7.12     The issues listed above are considered to provide a full and appropriate range of the factors which the County and City Councils can and should take into account when assessing the environmental acceptability of individual vein mineral development proposals. The purpose of the planning system is to determine whether a development is an acceptable use of the land, taking account of the benefits of the development and any adverse impacts of those uses. Some aspects of developments, such as the control of processing plant and machinery, health and safety, water discharge and emissions to air, could have adverse impacts but these are matters for other regulators such as the Environment Agency, Environmental Health (normally district and borough councils) and the Health and Safety Executive. Mineral planning authorities should assume that these regimes will operate effectively and cannot include relevant criteria in minerals local plan policies.

 
 

Please indicate whether or not you consider that this list represents an appropriate set of criteria for the assessment of vein minerals development proposals? If you consider that other additional criteria should be included please state what they are and your reasons for suggesting those additional criteria.

 

 

 

Issue 4 – Preference for Sites Outside the Peak District National Park

7.13     One policy aspect of the NPPF which is not yet addressed by the approach above is the stated preference, to provide, as far as is practical, for the maintenance of landbanks of non-energy minerals from outside designated areas such as the Peak District National Park. The objective of this approach is to help protect and maintain the special character of such areas. In response to the Issues and Options consultation exercise, support was expressed for the extraction of rock for aggregate purposes from sites in the Plan area in preference to sites in the Peak District National Park in order to protect the special character of that area.

 

7.14     The NPPF does not specify the number of years for which a landbank of vein minerals should be maintained and the review above also demonstrates the difficulty of determining what constitutes a steady and adequate supply of vein minerals. The location of vein minerals and how they have to be extracted are additional factors affecting the level of provision. The vein mineral resource in Derbyshire and the Peak District is found within limestone as the host rock where the extraction of vein mineral inevitably results in the simultaneous extraction of some limestone. This limestone is sometimes used as crushed rock for aggregate purposes. The availability of sites with the benefit of planning permission for the extraction of limestone of a grade suitable for use as crushed rock is such that that the landbank for this mineral already extends well beyond the Plan period. There is no need to make provision for more crushed rock. The Councils are cooperating on a policy approach designed to reduce the production of aggregate crushed rock from within the Peak District National Park (see the separate consultation Towards a Strategy for Helping to Reduce Quarrying in the Peak District National Park) and we are now seeking your views about applying this approach to the provision for vein minerals.

 

Commentary

7.15     The review above of known vein mineral resources and permitted reserves indicates that the main focus of the vein minerals industry is currently on the Peak District National Park area and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. In light of the current focus of existing vein mineral permissions in the Peak Park area it may not be possible to implement a new policy immediately but it could be applied to future planning applications for vein mineral extraction during the latter part of the Plan period.

 
 

Do you agree that the emerging approach to the provision for vein minerals should seek to seek to encourage future provision in the Plan area in preference to the Peak District National Park?     If you do not agree with this approach please indicate your preferred alternative and the reasons, where appropriate.