Towards a Minerals Local Plan for Derbyshire and Derby

Towards a Strategy for Vein Minerals

Duty to Cooperate

5.1      The analysis above indicates that the majority of the existing reserves of vein minerals with planning permission authorising future extraction are largely restricted to the Peak District National Park area. In view of the inter-relationship of the Peak Park with the rest of Derbyshire, in the context of mineral production, it is important that the Plan takes account of the corresponding policies for the Peak Park area. Accordingly, discussions have been held under the Duty to Co-operate with the Peak Park Authority and other authorities with a recent interest in vein minerals.

5.2      The main issues identified in the discussions with the Peak Park Authority were that:

  • The Peak Park is one of the few locations in the Country where valuable sources of vein minerals can be found and where permitted reserves exist.
  • The temporarily redundant processing plant at Cavendish Mill has undergone extensive refurbishment by the new owners and vein mineral extraction at sites in the Peak Park has recommenced.
  • There are no extant permissions elsewhere in Derbyshire which relate specifically to the extraction of vein minerals and information about the location, scale and commercial viability of such reserves is limited.
  • The vein mineral industry has, to date, not exhibited any interest in seeking permission to work resources from sites in Derbyshire outside the Peak Park area.
  • The continuing exploitation of reserves in the Peak Park has to be balanced against the impact of such working on the special characteristics of the Park area.
  • The Peak Park is an area which is particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of mineral extraction and accordingly the adopted Peak District National Park Core Strategy 2011 seeks to reduce the reliance on the area for future mineral resources (including vein minerals) in order to protect its special character.
  • However, the Core Strategy does not wholly prohibit the extraction of further deposits of vein minerals but does establish that any new proposal should be based on underground working only to minimise visual impacts on the surface.
  • The policy of the NPPF which states a preference, as far as is practical, to provide for the maintenance of landbanks of non-energy minerals from sites outside National Parks (and other designated areas).

5.3      It was discussed that the policies of the new Derbyshire and Derby Minerals Local Plan should reflect the policies of the NPPF, including that related to the preferred sourcing of vein minerals, but it was recognised that the other issues identified above (the scale of permitted reserves and established facilities in the Peak District National Park area compared to the Plan area) would restrict the ability of Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council to fully comply with that policy.

5.4      Correspondence has also been carried out with the unitary authority of Durham where fluorspar was previously worked. The authority confirmed that most commercially viable reserves have already been extracted and that it is highly unlikely that any further working in the area will be carried out in the foreseeable future. It would appear likely that this would focus future development proposals on Derbyshire, including the Peak District National Park.