MPA and Planning Officers’ Society publishes new guidance on safeguarding of mineral sites from development

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) together with the Planning Officers’ Society (POS) has launched a new Minerals Safeguarding Practice Guidance which explains how Local and Mineral Planning Authorities should protect mineral resources and infrastructure from development through the planning system.

A sufficient supply of minerals and mineral products is essential to the economy and our quality of life.

Mineral resources are not evenly distributed and can only be worked where they occur naturally. Development on or close to mineral resources and active or proposed quarries can effectively sterilise these from future extraction and so making them unavailable for future needs and generations.
The movement of minerals from areas of production to markets requires the right facilities – rail depots, sidings, and wharves – of the right size, in the right place. Transport by water and rail makes movement of these low value bulk materials economically viable and reduces carbon dioxide and other emissions, as well as congestion. These assets are also critical to long-term supply. Development can result in direct loss of sites or constraints on their current and future operation.

National planning policy requires safeguarding of mineral resources and infrastructure. However, its implementation is inconsistent, and planning authorities have asked for further guidance on how safeguarding can be delivered in practice.

This Practice Guide aims to provide this, building on experience of local authority planners and the minerals industry. It should be particularly helpful for local planning authorities that determine the majority of planning applications, including those that may affect safeguarded minerals or infrastructure.

Commenting, David Payne, MPA’s Senior Planning Advisor stated: “The minerals industry has become increasingly concerned that valuable resources and assets are being adversely affected by development in the wrong place, which could seriously undermine our ability to supply essential minerals and mineral products now and in the future. The Practice Guide provides helpful advice to all planning authorities and developers to understand why safeguarding is important and how to apply it properly, and so ensure a steady and adequate supply of minerals is maintained for the current and future generations.”

Richard Greaves, of POS and Chief Planning Officer at Essex County Council, stated: "Safeguarding mineral resources and protecting mineral’s infrastructure and the supply chain is not just important to prevent the country’s valuable resources from being sterilised in the short-term, but essential if the construction and development needs of future generations are to be met. This document supports the aims of the National Planning Policy Framework and is a useful guide for all planning authorities, as well as land promotors and developers considering carrying out development on mineral-bearing land or near to existing or proposed mineral infrastructure.”

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