Towards a Minerals Local Plan for Derbyshire and Derby

Towards a Strategy for Safeguarding Mineral Resources

Urban Areas and Prior Extraction

7       Urban Areas and Prior Extraction

7.1    The issue of whether MSAs should cover urban areas was not covered as a specific issue in the Issues and Options consultation, so needs to be covered here.  It was embodied to some extent, however, in the suggested policy for safeguarding in that consultation document.  As a result, some comments were made regarding this issue.  Opinion received was divided over the approach that we should take.  Half of the respondents thought that MSAs should cover all urban areas and half thought that urban areas should be excluded from MSAs.   The NPPG states that safeguarding areas should cover urban areas where necessary.  BGS guidance advises that MSAs should be defined to cover all urban areas, in order to highlight the potential for extracting significant quantities of mineral which can exist beneath urban regeneration projects and brownfield sites, and which may otherwise be overlooked.  Our discussions with the Coal Authority have also supported this approach with regards to coal and they have indicated that prior extraction can also be viable on smaller sites.


Further more detailed evidence regarding this issue is available in the Analysis of Responses to the Derby and Derbyshire Minerals Plan Issues and Options Consultation Paper, 2011 and in the summary of issues raised at the sand and gravel drop-in sessions held in late 2012.



7.2    Because this was not included as a specific issue in the Issues and Options paper, the interim sustainability appraisal did not report on this issue specifically.  However, it did report on the suggested policy for safeguarding, which covered the issue to some extent, which is helpful.


The Interim Sustainability Appraisal concluded that the proposed approach would have positive implications by ensuring a steady supply of minerals for economic development. It would also help to ensure that the need for mineral imports was minimised, which would reduce carbon emissions. However, it may restrict certain developments that are not considered ‘critical’.   The nature and extent of impacts would depend upon what development is considered to be ‘essential’. It suggested also that the policy could be made more flexible by offering different levels of protection according to the scarcity of mineral resources and where the cumulative impacts of previous mineral developments could lead to an unacceptable loss of resources.



7.3    Taking account of government policy and guidance which has been published since Issues and Options, comments received through Issues and Options consultation and later discussions with stakeholders and also the results of the interim sustainability appraisal, the proposed emerging approach is to safeguard all proven mineral resources in urban areas i.e. the safeguarding areas will wash over all urban areas.  This is explained in greater detail in the Mineral Safeguarding Supporting Paper.

7.4    It is considered that this approach will ensure that applicants for non-mineral development are aware of the mineral resource from the outset and can consider the potential for extraction of the mineral prior to development taking place.  It will also avoid disputes over what constitutes an urban area and reduces the need to amend MSA boundaries to reflect urban growth. 

7.5    Prior extraction of mineral in these cases may be of economic advantage due to the availability of mineral on site for the development proposed or, potentially, the shorter distance to market if sold.  There will be different issues regarding prior extraction depending on the mineral involved.  In the case of coal, in particular, prior extraction can help to rectify issues associated with land stability.  The emerging approach relating to prior extraction of coal is dealt with the Emerging Strategy for Coal paper.  This puts forward an option of having two policies for prior extraction; a specific one for coal and a general one for other minerals.

7.6    Given that the majority of planning applications are submitted for urban areas, the designation of MSAs covering urban areas could potentially lead to a large amount of unnecessary notification between district planning authorities and mineral planning authorities.  However, to overcome this, we are proposing to include a list of exempt developments, which have no significant implications for mineral safeguarding.   These are set out below.