Core Strategy - Consultation Draft

CS8: Minerals Planning in North Somerset

CS8: Mineral Planning in North Somerset

Provision will be made for North Somerset to contribute towards approximately 40% of the West of England's aggregates requirement, consistent with national and regional policy and the principles of sustainable development. 

The council will seek to maintain a land bank for crushed rock of at least 10 years.

The council will seek to protect mineral resources where appropriate, by such means as identification of Mineral Safeguarding Areas. This will be addressed in the Site Allocations Development Plan Document. 

Detailed development control policies on minerals development will be established through the Development Management Development Plan Document.

This policy contributes towards meeting the objectives of Mineral Policy Statement 1: Planning and Minerals.

Background

Government guidance in Minerals Planning Statement 1 Planning and Minerals (MPS1) states that minerals are essential to the nation's prosperity and quality of life. It is essential that there is an adequate and steady supply of material to provide the infrastructure, buildings and goods that society, industry and the economy needs. However this should be in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.

The Core Strategy approach

North Somerset primarily contributes to minerals supply by the winning and working of carboniferous limestone, producing aggregate (crushed rock). The aggregate is mainly used for building and repairing roads, but also in producing concrete.

Currently there are three active quarries in North Somerset. These are:

  • Stancombe Quarry near Flax Bourton,
  • Durnford Quarry near Long Ashton, and
  • Freemans Farm Quarry off the A38 near Bristol Airport

Requirement for supply of primary aggregates

National and Regional Guidelines for Aggregates Provision in England 2005-2020 have recently been produced, but only go down to regional level. Work is being undertaken by the South West Councils to apportion the guidelines to the sub-regions, including the West of England, but will take some time to complete.

The RSS sub-regional apportionment for aggregates for the West of England, is 94.95 million tonnes (mt) of crushed rock, 2001-2016, (with a further 59.3 mt for 2016-2026, based on extrapolation of annual production rates).

To determine the district level apportionment, the Joint Replacement Structure Plan approach is still relevant. This states that beyond 2006 the appropriate contribution to crushed rock aggregate supply will be determined in the light of national and regional guidance prevailing at the time, apportioned between South Gloucestershire and North Somerset on a ratio of 60%:40%. This ratio is reflected in the policy.

MPS1 requires authorities to provide for the maintenance of land banks (appropriate levels of permitted reserves), and states that the land bank indicator for crushed rock is at least 10 years. Again this is reflected in the policy.

Figures provided by operators of the three active quarries show that there are substantial permitted reserves of limestone in North Somerset. Those figures suggest that North Somerset has a significant land bank, taking account of the sub regional apportionment in the RSS and the 40%:60% ratio between North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Detailed considerations, such as identification of areas where minerals reserves should be safeguarded through designating Mineral Safeguarding Areas (MSAs) will appropriately be addressed in preparing the North Somerset Site Allocations DPD or Development Management DPD.

Recycled or secondary aggregates

MPS1 encourages the greatest possible use of alternatives to primary aggregates.

The draft RSS states that provision should be made in the South West for 121 million tonnes of secondary[1] and recycled[2] aggregates to be used over the plan period to 2016, and 75.6 million tonnes between 2016 and 2026.

The emerging West of England Joint Waste Core Strategy (JWCS) includes a policy which accepts in principle proposals for recycling of construction and demolition waste (a key source of recycled aggregate) at mineral sites, provided that the proposed development is for a temporary time period commensurate with the operational life of the mineral site.

Any need for further detailed policies concerning location and control of facilities producing secondary and recycled aggregates will appropriately be addressed in preparing the North Somerset Site Allocations DPD and /or the Development Management DPD.

Potential impacts of mineral working

Government guidance refers to the need to take account of potential detrimental effects of proposals for mineral developments on the environment, such as possible noise, dust, landscape impact etc. It also refers to the need for restoration of sites following minerals working.

These issues will appropriately be addressed in preparing the Development Management DPD.

How and where the policy will be delivered

Most opportunities for minerals development are in the carboniferous limestone areas in the north part of North Somerset, which contains the three active quarries. Deliverability will depend on production of crushed rock in North Somerset being carried out sustainably in accordance with policies in the Development Management DPD. The Site Allocations DPD will assess the potential for the designation of Minerals Safeguarding Areas.

Alternative options and contingency planning

There is little scope for alternative options in terms of a Core Strategy policy, as it sets out the broad approach to minerals planning in the LDF, reflecting national guidance.

The policy appropriately states that the council will seek to maintain a land bank for crushed rock of at least 10 years. Doing so should ensure adequacy of provision, and allow for sufficient flexibility for contingency purposes.

Monitoring and review

The council will liaise closely with the minerals industry and the South West Regional Aggregates Working Party (SWRAWP) to monitor aggregate production levels and the availability of permitted reserves.

1. Secondary aggregates include materials which are the by-product of other extractive operations (e.g. colliery shale and china clay wastes) or the by-product of industrial processes (e.g. pulverised fuel ash from coal burning power stations). [back]
2. Recycled aggregates include recycled materials, such as those produced from crushing and screening construction and demolition waste. [back]