Towards a Minerals Local Plan for Derbyshire and Derby

Towards a Strategy for Industrial Limestone

Next Steps

6        Next Steps

6.1     Since the publication of the Issues and Options Report, the NPPF and NPPG have been introduced; it is important to revisit the issues and options surrounding the provision for industrial limestone in the Minerals Local Plan in the light of this new policy and guidance. In particular, it is necessary to consider the extent to which the Issues and Options Report and the responses to it remain helpful in the development of a new strategy for industrial limestone and take on board additional evidence that we have collected since 2010.

6.2     In particular, the Issues and Options Report included a ‘call for sites’ from any developer wishing to promote a site for mineral development, including industrial limestone, over the Plan period. The operator (Lafarge/Tarmac) has identified the need for additional reserves at Whitwell quarry and has put forward five areas of potential working (one in Nottinghamshire). More recently, in summer 2013, the operator of Ashwood Dale Quarry (Omya UK), identified the need for additional reserves and put forward a potential extension.  These submissions will be taken into account in developing our approach towards making provision for industrial limestone.

6.3     Making provision for an adequate supply of industrial limestone – developing the emerging approach

          The NPPF requires us to plan for an adequate and steady supply of industrial minerals to meet the need for their use in industrial and manufacturing processes. It doesn’t set out how much industrial limestone should be provided but it requires the MPA to assess the likely demand and make provision to ensure that an adequate and steady supply of the mineral can be maintained.

          This Paper has previously established that having regard to recent and anticipated production rates, the demand for ‘industrial limestone’ is not expected to increase significantly over the Plan period. Simply taking into account the level of permitted reserves, indicates that numerically the Plan area has more than sufficient permitted reserves to meet the anticipated demand for industrial limestone over the Plan period, to 2030. However, there are other factors that the Plan will need to take into account in planning for an adequate and steady supply of industrial limestone:

  • At two quarries Whitwell and Ashwood Dale the operators have informed us that there are insufficient permitted reserves to maintain production throughout the Plan period
  • Geological variations within a quarry can often impact on the scale of suitable mineral, requiring the need for additional reserves to maintain production
  • Industrial limestone markets are very diverse and often require complex specifications of mineral. Additionally, Government and European Directives frequently change the required specifications for products. The complex nature of industrial limestone markets makes it very difficult to accurately predict future requirements for mineral reserves
  • For particular uses, such as cement manufacture, the NPPF requires landbanks of permitted reserves of primary (chalk and limestone) and secondary (clay and shale) materials to be maintained to support the development of a new kiln and the maintenance and improvement of existing plant.

          As well as examining the scale of provision that needs to be made to ensure an adequate supply of industrial limestone, the Plan also needs to consider how and where that provision should be made. NPPG offers advice on this matter stating that priority should be given to specific sites followed by preferred areas and areas of search. Where this approach is not possible it may be appropriate for MPAs to rely largely on policies which set out criteria against which applications will be assessed.

          Of the existing limestone quarries with permitted industrial limestone reserves, only two operators have indicated the need for additional reserves to maintain production throughout the Plan period and have identified areas of known economically viable resources which they are promoting as sites suitable for working. No other sites have been put forward for working over the Plan period. Whilst the extent of the limestone resource is known, information about the scale and commercial viability of the remaining resource is not and therefore, the MPA has no further information at this time that would enable the identification of sites, preferred areas or areas of search from which any other future provision of industrial limestone could be made.

6.4     Issue 1: Industrial limestone – options for making provision for an adequate and steady supply of industrial limestone

          Having regard to the above, a number of options have been put forward to ensure the supply of industrial limestone over the Plan period. They are set out below together with a brief commentary.

          Option 1: Make provision through existing permitted reserves and allocations

          The Plan could make provision for industrial limestone through existing permitted reserves together with the identification (allocation) of specific areas of land for working industrial limestone where we know there is a need for additional reserves to enable working to be maintained throughout the Plan period. As stated previously, at two quarries, Whitwell and Ashwood Dale the operators have indicated that there will be a requirement for additional reserves to maintain production at those sites throughout the Plan period and have identified economically viable resources for working.  An allocation of land in a local plan is acceptance, in principle, that a site is suitable for working subject to satisfying detailed planning considerations.

          This option is appropriate where viable resources are known and operators/ landowners are supportive of minerals development and actively promote sites for development. Allocations provide greater clarity and certainty of delivery over the Plan period for the industry which is important in terms of the level of investment required particularly for limestone processing. It was also recommended by the Interim Sustainability Appraisal, which concluded that where minerals are of national importance we should consider allocating sites to ensure that there is certainty in their supply. Allocations would also provide clarity to local communities about the nature, scale and location of clay working that they can expect over the Plan period. However, only two sites have been promoted for allocation and the MPA has insufficient information about the scale and commercial viability of the remaining resource that would enable the identification of sites, preferred areas or areas of search from which any other future provision of industrial limestone could be made. This option, in isolation, therefore would not provide sufficient flexibility to meet any unanticipated increased demand for additional reserves of industrial limestone to be worked during the Plan period.

 

          Option 2: Make provision through existing permitted reserves and a criteria based policy

          The Plan could make provision for industrial limestone through existing permitted reserves together with a criteria based policy that would allow for the working of additional reserves to supply identified needs, both where those needs are known at the start of the Plan period and where those needs cannot be predicted at the start of the Plan period.

          Whilst this option would provide flexibility to meet both known and unanticipated needs for new working it would not provide the same clarity and certainty of delivery that identifying specific areas of land would bring for both, companies and local communities. Additionally, it would not accord with the findings of the Interim Sustainability Appraisal which concluded that where minerals are of national importance we should consider allocating sites to ensure that there is certainty in their supply nor would it strictly follow NPPG which advises that when planning for the supply of minerals, allocations should be favoured over preferred areas and areas of search.

 

          Option 3: Make provision through existing permitted reserves and allocations and a criteria based policy

The Plan could make provision for industrial limestone through existing permitted reserves together with a combination of the above two options. Where the need for additional reserves is established at the start of the Plan period, specific areas of land could be identified where, in principle, working would be acceptable. Where the need for additional reserves cannot be anticipated at the start of the Plan period a criteria based policy could be included to allow for additional reserves to be worked to meet those needs.

          This Option would provide both flexibility to meet unanticipated needs and the clarity and certainty of supply through the allocation of sites where we know there is an identified need for additional reserves and known economically viable resources exist and operators/landowners are supportive and actively promoting minerals development.

[1] Email from Lafarge Tarmac to Derbyshire CC dated 3/2/2015

6.5     Issue 2: A criteria based policy – emerging approach

          Both Options 2 and 3 would require a criteria based policy to implement the approach. Set out below are the components that a policy may need to include to ensure the provision of an adequate and steady supply of industrial limestone. NPPF requires us to make the best use of finite mineral resources to ensure their long term conservation and support the sustainable use of resources. Our emerging wording also takes this into account. All proposals will need to have regard to the emerging strategic sustainability principles which we have set out in a separate Paper. More information can be found in the following Paper:

Towards Strategic Sustainability Principles – November, 2014.

 

The text in the box sets out the components that the emerging approach could include:

Elements of a criteria based policy to ensure the provision of an adequate and steady supply of industrial limestone - emerging approach

A presumption in favour of proposals for the extraction of ‘industrial’ limestone where additional reserves are required:

  • to meet an identified need for materials
  • with particular specifications, and where
  • the recovery of the particular materials required to supply that need is maximised.
 

6.6     Issue 3: Specific identification (allocation) of land for industrial mineral working

          Options 1 and 3 would involve the specific allocation of sites for working where it can be established that there is an identified need for additional reserves. As indicated, we have been informed by two operators at Whitwell and Ashwood Dale quarries that permitted reserves will be exhausted before the end of the plan period and that additional reserves will be required to maintain production at those sites. Lafargetarmac is promoting five areas of potential working to extend the life of Whitwell Quarry (one in Nottinghamshire) and Omya UK Ltd is promoting an extension to Ashwood Dale Quarry. Further details of the promoted sites are set out at the Appendix to this Paper.

6.7     Issue 4: The assessment of sites for allocation in the Plan

          For these sites to be identified for working in the Plan sufficient information would be required to enable a proper evaluation of the promoted site. This information would need to be able to demonstrate that any potential site is justified in terms of its need to be worked, is deliverable and could be worked sustainably, without causing unacceptable adverse impacts on the environment and communities. If Option 1 or 3 emerges as the preferred approach for ensuring the supply of industrial limestone there will be a need to carry out further engagement on the methodology that will be used to assess the acceptability of sites for allocation.

6.8     Issue 5: Cement manufacture – making provision for an adequate supply of primary and secondary raw materials – developing the emerging approach

          Industrial limestone is a primary raw material in the manufacture of cement with clay and shale as secondary materials. Processing plants associated with cement manufacture are generally large and require high capital investment. In view of this, as previously set out, the NPPF and NPPG establish the need to ensure that sufficient stocks of permitted reserves of primary and secondary materials are available to support the level of actual and proposed investment required to maintain or improve existing plant or to provide a new kiln for cement manufacture. The landbank requirements apply to individual sites or feeder sites rather than the whole Plan area.

          Tunstead is the only cement works within the Plan area and is sourced by two adjoining quarries Tunstead and Old Moor (part of this quarry lies within the Peak District National Park outside of the Plan area). The works has capacity to produce 1 million tonnes of cement per year and despite permission being granted for a second kiln, which would see capacity rise to 2.15 million tonnes when built, the Operator has confirmed[1] that there are sufficient permitted reserves of limestone to last well beyond the end of the Plan period, even taking into account the NPPF requirement for a landbank of 25 years for the new kiln. Most of the clay required also comes from the quarries in the form of slurry resulting from the washing of limestone for the production of chemical stone for industry. Small quantities of other raw materials - sand, marl, shale and mill scale - are imported. Importation of these raw materials will increase proportionately with the commissioning of K2 but much is sourced outside the Plan area. Further investigation is required with the Operator about these movements in line with the duty to cooperate requirements.

          There are two cement works close to the Plan area at Hope lies some 10 km away within the Peak District National Park and at Cauldon lies 0.6 km away just over the border in Staffordshire. Each of these plants is located near to a supplying quarry.  Based on the information that we have on permitted reserves it is unlikely that Cauldon quarry would need to call on limestone or clay/shale resources from within the Plan area.

          We have been informed by the Peak District National Park Authority that Hope cement works, operated by Hope Construction Materials Ltd, will not have a 15 year landbank of limestone reserves from approximately 2019. The Authority has also informed us that the operator may seek to extend the quarry or alternatively look to import limestone to the site sourced from elsewhere, including Dowlow Quarry within the Derbyshire and Derby Plan area,  which the Company owns. Consequently there may be a call on permitted reserves from within the Plan area to support cement manufacture at Hope. This matter is being investigated further with the Operator and the PDNPA.

          At this stage it is unclear whether, based on our current information of anticipated production rates and the level of permitted reserves, there will be an additional need for industrial limestone or clay/shale reserves to support the manufacture of cement over the Plan period. In view of this uncertainty the suggested approach that is being put forward to ensure the provision of materials to support the manufacture of cement is a criteria based policy that would allow for additional reserves of primary and secondary minerals to be worked where they are needed to support the manufacture of cement taking into account the 15 and 25 year land bank requirements set out in NPPF.

Emerging elements to be included in a criteria based policy to ensure the supply of primary and secondary materials required for cement manufacture

A presumption in favour of proposals for the extraction of primary and secondary minerals to support the manufacture of cement where additional reserves are required:

  • To maintain a land bank of at least 15 years for primary cement materials (chalk and limestone) and secondary cement materials (clay and shale) to support the maintenance of an existing plant and /or
  • To maintain a land bank of at least 25 years for primary cement materials (chalk and limestone) and secondary cement materials (clay and shale) to support the development of a new kiln.

These land bank requirements will apply to individual sites or feeder sites rather than the whole Plan area.