Policy SE 10: Sustainable Provision of Minerals
Cheshire East will make provision for an adequate and steady supply of minerals in support of sustainable economic growth without unacceptable adverse impacts on the environment having considered the need to conserve finite natural resources as far as possible and safeguard them for future generations.
To achieve this, the council will:
- Make appropriate provision for the supply of aggregates having regard to Cheshire East’s apportionment of sub-national supply guidelines and Local Aggregate Assessments.
- Seek to maintain aggregate landbanks of at least 7 years sand and gravel and at least 10 years crushed rock supply over the plan period.
- Make appropriate provision for the supply of permitted silica sand reserves at each site equivalent to at least 10 years production throughout the plan period, or at least 15 years at sites where significant new investment is required.
- Identify suitable locations for potential sand and gravel, silica sand and salt extraction in the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document. These will take the form of specific sites, preferred areas and/or areas of search where appropriate.
- Encourage and support the provision and use of suitable alternative materials to land-won minerals in order to minimise the need for new primary extraction and conserve finite natural resources.
- Safeguard Cheshire East’s important mineral resources of silica sand, sand and gravel, sandstone (including building stone), salt and surface coal through the definition of Mineral Safeguarding Areas, which will be defined in the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document and will include environmental designations, urban areas and buffer zones, plus development management criteria. Within these areas, mineral resources will be protected from unnecessary sterilisation by other development.
- Safeguard existing and potential minerals associated infrastructure against other development in close proximity which may potentially constrain its current or future use.
- Support the extraction of natural building and roofing stone needed for architectural and heritage purposes where environmentally acceptable.
- Not support proposals for peat extraction from new or extended sites.
- Encourage and support the transportation of minerals by alternative methods to road where practicable.
- Secure at the earliest opportunity the high standard restoration and aftercare of sites following mineral working, recognising the diversity of appropriate restoration schemes to deliver the potential for beneficial afteruses.
- Recognise the need for the afteruse of underground salt cavities for gas storage purposes in response to national energy policy.
- Set out environmental criteria in the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document against which all minerals proposals will be assessed to ensure operations do not have unacceptable adverse impacts on the natural and historic environment or on human health.
13.98 Aggregates are the essential raw material needed in almost any construction activity such as new housing and infrastructure. Cheshire East is a producer of sand and gravel and, to a small scale, crushed rock (sandstone) used for aggregate purposes. To meet the future demand for aggregates, supply levels set out in National and Sub-National Aggregate Guidelines have been apportioned between the Mineral Planning Authorities of the North West through agreement between the North West Aggregates Working Party. Table 13.2 sets out Cheshire East’s contribution to sub-national supply and overall provision based on rolling forward annualised average apportionments over the plan period (2010-2030).
Table 13.2 Cheshire East Aggregate Provision over the Plan Period (in million tonnes)
|Cheshire East's Total Apportionment footnote 71 (2005-2020)
|Annualised Average Amount
|Rolled forward over Plan period (2010-2030)
|Additional provision to maintain landbanks beyond Plan period footnote 72
|Less existing reserves footnote 73
|Sand and gravel
13.99 Levels of aggregate supply to meet demand will be reviewed when necessary following the publication of updated National and Sub-National Aggregate Guidelines. Local Aggregate Assessments (LAAs) will also be prepared annually to assess the supply and demand of aggregates in Cheshire East based on 10-year sales averages and other relevant information, identifying if any shortfall or surplus exists.
13.100 In order to provide security of aggregate supply, provision should be made to maintain minimum aggregate landbanks of at least 7 years sand and gravel and at least 10 years crushed rock supply throughout the plan period. Landbanks will be used to monitor the security of aggregate supply from Cheshire East, indicating if a review of provision is needed, and as a consideration when assessing the need for new planning permissions.
13.101 Our evidence base tells us that there is a sufficient crushed rock aggregate landbank across permitted sites, but that additional sand and gravel reserves will be required within the period up to 2030 in order to maintain a landbank consistent with national policy. Provision for sand and gravel supply in Cheshire East will be made through the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document.
13.102 Silica sand resources in Cheshire East are recognised as being of national economic importance. In response to national planning policy, the Authority is, therefore, required to ensure that a steady and adequate supply of this raw material is provided. Due to the national need for silica sand, it is important that each production site is adequately provided for, unless exceptional circumstances prevail. Therefore a minimum stock of permitted reserves for at least 10 years production should be maintained at individual sites throughout the plan period, or for at least 15 years at new or existing sites where significant new capital investment is required footnote 74. Silica sand quarries in Cheshire East also produce quantities of sand for sold aggregate purposes and, therefore, contribute to the overall supply and landbank of aggregate sand and gravel.
13.103 To enable the provision of a steady and adequate supply of both aggregate and industrial minerals, allocations in the form of specific sites, preferred areas and/or an area of search for potential future minerals development will be identified through the Site Allocations and Development Policies Document. This approach to allocations is considered to offer a level of certainty as to where potential mineral extraction may take place, whilst providing a degree of flexibility to meet needs over the plan period. This will involve reviewing existing allocations in the Cheshire Replacement Minerals Local Plan 1999. New allocations will be subject to necessary environmental assessment and sustainability appraisal. New sites, or extensions to existing sites for future peat extraction, will not be included consistent with national planning policy.
13.104 The consumption of primary (land-won) mineral resources can be offset by alternative materials such as secondary or recycled aggregates produced as industrial by-products or from construction, demolition and excavation (CD&E) waste. Whilst it is acknowledged not all primary minerals can feasibly be replaced, proposals offering to provide suitable alternative materials in appropriate locations should be supported in order to limit the need for land-won extraction and help to secure the long term conservation of finite natural resources. The Minerals and Waste DPD will identify appropriate sites needed for the management of CD&E waste, including for aggregate recycling.
13.105 As mineral resources are finite and can only be worked where they naturally occur, in accordance with the principles of sustainable development, they should be safeguarded in order to meet the needs of future generations. Mineral resources considered for safeguarding in Cheshire East for their economic importance include:
- Silica (industrial) sand,
- Sand and gravel
- Sandstone (including for building stone purposes)
- Surface coal
13.106 The broad extent of these resources is shown on the Mineral Resources in Cheshire East map (Figure 13.4). This is based on mineral resource data provided by the BGS and The Coal Authority. This data will provide the basis for the definition of Mineral Safeguarding Areas (MSAs) in the Minerals ands Waste DPD, subject to refinement through consultation with the minerals industry and others.
Figure 13.4 Mineral Resources in Cheshire East (based on BGS/Coal Authority data)
13.107 The purpose of MSAs is to prevent the needless sterilisation of mineral resources by alerting to their presence. This factor can then be given appropriate consideration in the planning process. MSAs do not preclude other (non-mineral) forms of development being permitted within them, nor do they carry any presumption that the mineral resource will be worked. Where it can be demonstrated that it is environmentally feasible and practicable, the prior extraction of the mineral resource will be encouraged ahead of necessary development.
13.108 Prior extraction is the process by which a mineral is won from a site prior to non-mineral development taking place. This can take place at a number of different scales, which would depend on the size of the site, the depth of mineral, the type and quality of the mineral, and the nature of the proposed development. In line with the requirements of the NPPF, the Minerals and Waste DPD will set out policies to encourage the prior extraction of minerals, where practicable and environmentally feasible, if it is necessary for non-mineral development to take place.
13.109 In safeguarding sites for existing, planned and potential minerals associated infrastructure (as set out in the NPPF), including for secondary and recycled materials, appropriate consideration will also be given to the potential constraints that proximal (non-mineral) development may place on the operation of this infrastructure.
13.110 Cheshire East will work with the minerals industry and others to ensure that MSAs are based upon the best available information and that all relevant mineral associated infrastructure has been considered. Accompanying policy will be set out in the Minerals and Waste DPD to support the practical implementation of determining proposals in these areas in line with best practice guidance footnote 75 .
13.111 Cheshire East has a valued, varied and unique built heritage. The provision of locally-sourced building and roofing stone is therefore important to enable the repair and maintenance of built heritage assets in support of their long term conservation as well as ensuring sensitivity of design in proximity to designated and local heritage assets and their settings This complements the aims of Policy SE 1 ‘Design’ and Policy SE 7 ‘The Historic Environment'.
13.112 Proposals for the extraction of peat at new or extended sites in Cheshire East, will not be supported, reflecting the national planning policy position on peat extraction.
13.113 Substantial environmental benefits can be achieved by replacing the road borne transportation of minerals with alternative methods such as rail, waterway, pipeline or conveyor. Whilst it is recognised that given the nature of mineral extraction in Cheshire East, road often presents the only feasible option, alternative methods will be encouraged and supported wherever this is practicable.
13.114 Mineral working is a temporary use of land, although it often takes place over long periods of time. The restoration and subsequent aftercare of mineral sites following the completion of extraction can provide opportunities to deliver a range of sustainable, positive and beneficial after-uses. This includes agriculture, forestry/native woodland, nature conservation, amenity and recreation. Restored land can also help adapt to or mitigate the effects of climate change and contribute to Cheshire East’s network of green infrastructure, consistent with Policy SE 6 ‘Green Infrastructure’. The most appropriate restoration schemes to deliver the potential for beneficial afteruses will be determined on a site-by-site basis.
13.115 Local geological circumstances in Cheshire East have demonstrated their feasibility for natural gas storage purposes in underground cavities, created following the extraction of salt (in brine) with the suggested potential for carbon storage. In response to national planning policy, encouragement should be given to such afteruse, subject to ensuring that the appropriate integrity and safety measures are satisfactorily secured. Government has identified the need for gas storage capacity to contribute to national energy security.
13.116 For all mineral development, it is essential that operations do not give rise to any unacceptable adverse impacts on the natural and historic environment or on human health. In addition to the relevant polices in this plan, detailed policies will be brought forward through the Minerals and Waste DPD setting out criteria against which all mineral related planning proposals, including for hydrocarbon resource development, will be assessed, consistent with national planning policy and guidance.
- Cheshire East Surface Mining Coal Resource Areas, The Coal Authority
- The Future of Sub-Regional Apportionment in the Cheshire Sub-region - A paper prepared for Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils, Cheshire West and Chester Council
- Annual Monitoring Report 2013, North West Aggregates Working Party (NWAWP)
- Local Aggregate Assessment 2013, Cheshire East Council
- Mineral Resource Information in Support of National, Regional and Local Planning: Cheshire, British Geological Survey (BGS
- National and regional guidelines for aggregates provision in England 2005-2020, Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
- Strategic Stone Study - A Building Stone Atlas of Cheshire, English Heritage
- Sub-regional apportionment of 2005-2020 guidelines for aggregate provision in the North West, North West Aggregates Working Party (NWAWP)
(Footnote 71) As detailed in NWAWP (2011) 'Sub-regional apportionment of 2005-2020 guidelines for aggregate provision in the North West' and CWaC (2011) 'The Future of Sub-Regional Apportionment in the Cheshire Sub-region - A paper prepared for Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils'.
(Footnote 72) 7 years sand and gravel, 10 years crushed rock.
(Footnote 73) 5.59mt sand and gravel, 4.29mt crushed rock as of 31 December 2012.
(Footnote 74) Calculations will be based on the average of the previous 10 years’ sales and will have regard to the use and quality of the material (Paragraph 90, Planning Practice Guidance).
(Footnote 75) BGS and The Coal Authority (2011) ‘Mineral Safeguarding in England: good practice advice'.
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