Minerals and Waste Local Plan: Pre-Submission Publication
2. The Minerals and Waste Local Plan process
2.1 Drafting Minerals and Waste Management Policies
The Core Strategy and Development Management Policies in Norfolk's adopted plan have been reviewed and replacement policies and supporting text have been drafted. This process has taken into account the National Planning Policy Framework, National Planning Policy for Waste, National Planning Policy Guidance, other relevant policies and guidance, the performance of current adopted policies, current data on waste management, minerals extraction, proposed development and environmental constraints in Norfolk.
Proposed Mineral Extraction Sites
2.2 Call for sites (July 2017) A call for sites was advertised for six weeks to enable landowners, mineral companies and their agents to submit land for consideration for future mineral extraction, of either sand and gravel, carstone, or silica sand during the plan period. The information required to be submitted included landowner willingness for the site to be included in the plan, geological information to provide an estimate of the mineral resource and information on the environmental constraints of the site.
2.3 Assessment of proposed sites The specific sites proposed in response to the 'call for sites' have been assessed by Planning Officers at Norfolk County Council, in consultation with the relevant County Council officers. The basis for the site assessments undertaken by the County Council has followed a very similar methodology to that used in the assessment of sites in the adopted Minerals Site Specific Allocations DPD and is as follows:
- A description of the site/area of search and its landscape context;
- Any known landscape constraints (e.g. designated landscape areas);
- The presence of any landscape detractors (e.g. overhead power lines);
- Comments on how existing landscape features or viewpoints might be affected by mineral extraction;
- The landscape impact of mineral extraction (on residents, visitors' enjoyment of the countryside, light pollution etc) and whether any potential screening itself would be intrusive; and
- Consideration of whether a potential restoration scheme could be proposed which is feasible, suitable and offers opportunities for longer term landscape gains.
- Details of any designated nature conservation sites nearby;
- Whether the proposed site or area could affect any designated sites, including the drainage of those sites;
- Whether a suitable restoration scheme could be proposed; and
- Whether there is any potential to create any target habitats (e.g. heathland).
2.6 The site assessments do not include details of any protected species found in and around the local area. New minerals sites, being located on rural greenfield sites, are likely to need a biodiversity survey and report as required by Norfolk County Council's Local List for Validation of Planning Applications, or as part of an Environmental Statement accompanying a planning application. The results of a biodiversity survey and report may impact upon the scheme of working, detail potential mitigation measures and might require planning conditions to be attached to any permission granted. However, if certain key species, especially bats or great crested newts, are thought to be present on a site, a full survey with details of mitigation will need to accompany the planning application.
- The hierarchy level of the road used to access the site or area (e.g. HGV access route)
- If not on an HGV access route or better, the suitability of the route to the nearest suitable road (an HGV access route, principal road or distributor road)
- Details of any improvements required to make the site or area suitable in highways terms (e.g. road widening, junction improvements etc).
- Highways access for proposed silica sand extraction will be assessed in terms of suitability of the route from the proposed extraction site or area to the existing silica sand processing plant at Leziate.
2.8 Historic Environment and Archaeology
- Details of designated heritage assets in the vicinity of the site/ area of search;
- Initial assessment of the historic environment in the vicinity of the site/ area of search based on the heritage conservation principles (aesthetic, evidential, historic and communal values);
- Details of known archaeological assets, including information on finds from the Historic Environment Records Service;
- Assessment of the likelihood of archaeological assets occurring on site;
- Proposals for protection/mitigation likely to be necessary for archaeological assets; and
- Whether potential mineral extraction within the site/area would be supported by Norfolk County Council's Historic Environment Service and whether this is dependent on appropriate protection/mitigation.
2.9 The site assessments for the allocated mineral extraction sites are contained in this document. The site assessments for all other proposed mineral extraction sites that have not been allocated can be found in the 2019 Preferred Options Consultation document.
2.10 Initial Consultation (July/August 2018) The first public consultation on Norfolk's Minerals and Waste Local Plan (NM&WLP). It contained a draft vision and strategic objectives for minerals development and waste management facilities in Norfolk. This document contained proposed wording for policies to be used when determining planning applications for minerals extraction and associated development and waste management facilities, and policy alternatives where this is considered appropriate. This document also contained an initial assessment of the sites and areas that have been proposed for mineral extraction in Norfolk over the Plan period. The document was published for a six week consultation period and the comments received were taken into account in the production of the Preferred Options consultation document.
2.11 Call for waste management sites (January/February) 2019 A call for sites was advertised for six weeks to enable landowners, waste management companies and their agents to submit land for consideration for waste treatment facilities during the plan period. The information required to be submitted included landowner willingness for the site to be included in the plan and information on the environmental constraints of the site. The 'call for sites' was restricted to proposals for new permanent sites of over 1 hectare, proposed for waste treatment with an estimated annual throughput of at least 50,000 tpa. Only sites that met these criteria would be considered as potential specific site allocations.
2.12 The specific sites proposed in response to the 'call for sites' were assessed by Planning Officers at Norfolk County Council in accordance with the 'assessment of proposed sites' process detailed earlier in this section. The waste site assessments were published in Appendix 10 of the Preferred Options consultation document. However, no waste sites are allocated in the NM&WLP.
2.13 Preferred Options consultation (September/October 2019) The Preferred Options version of the NM&WLP took into account the consultation responses received at the Initial consultation stage. It contained a vision and strategic objectives for minerals development and waste management facilities in Norfolk. It also contained proposed wording for policies to be used when determining planning applications for minerals extraction and associated development and waste management facilities. This document also contained an assessment of the sites and areas that have been proposed for mineral extraction in Norfolk over the Plan period to 2036 and draft policy wording for those sites considered suitable to allocate. The document was published for a six-week consultation period and the comments received have been taken into account in the production of the Pre-Submission Publication version of the NM&WLP.
Sustainability Appraisal / Strategic Environmental Assessment
2.14 Through the Sustainability Appraisal process, the potential impact (positive or negative) of each planning policy option and each proposed site/area for future mineral extraction or waste treatment has also been assessed on:
- amenity (noise, vibration, visual intrusion, health)
- water resources/ water quality and flood risk
- ecology – designated nature conservation sites and proposed restoration scheme
- landscape -
- historic environment – conservation areas/ listed buildings/ scheduled monuments/ registered parks and gardens / archaeology
- agricultural land grade/ soil quality
- air quality
- employment and economic growth
2.15 Sustainability appraisal is central to the planning system. The purpose of Sustainability Appraisal, which is required under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, is to promote sustainable development through integration of social, environmental and economic considerations into the preparation of Local Plans. The Sustainability Appraisal process helps to make sure that the proposals in the plan are the most appropriate given the reasonable alternatives, as well as a means of identifying and mitigating any potential adverse effects that the plan might otherwise have.
2.16 Sustainability Appraisal is an integral element of the preparation of the Minerals and Waste Local Plan, comprehensively assessing the likely impacts of proposed planning policies, and specific sites/ areas for future mineral extraction. The Sustainability Appraisal forms part of the evidence base for the NM&WLP and it is published in two parts: Part A is the Scoping Report and Part B covers developing and refining alternatives and assessing effects.
Habitats Regulations Assessment
2.17 A Habitats Regulations Appraisal has been carried out on the Minerals and Waste Local Plan in accordance with the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. A Habitats Regulations Assessment is undertaken to assess the impacts of a land-use plan against the conservation objectives of European designated nature conservation sites (SPAs, SACs and also Ramsar sites) and to ascertain where the Plan would adversely affect the integrity of the site, and if so how to amend the plan to avoid any potentially damaging effects. The Habitats Regulations Assessment forms part of the evidence base for the NM&WLP.
What happens next?
Note: this box is for information only and is not part of the Publication M&W Local Plan
2.18 A Programme Officer will be the first point of contact following the close of the representations period. The Programme Officer reports directly to the Planning Inspector and will be employed through to the completion of the Examination in Public. The Programme Officer is an independent person who has not previously been involved with the preparation of the Minerals and Waste Local Plan.
2.19 Submission (December 2022) Once the representations period has closed, the representations received will be entered into Norfolk County Council's e-consultation database and summarised. If there are no fundamental issues raised against the NM&WLP, such as those raised by statutory bodies, the Council will submit the plan together with all the representations and the summary to the Secretary of State for Examination in Public.
2.20 Examination (April 2023) The Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State to examine the plan will consider all the representations made against the plan. The Inspector will consider most of the representations by way of written representations received during the formal period. In some more complex cases representations may need to be presented at the public examination. It should be noted that written representations are treated with equal importance to examination appearances.
2.21 The Planning Inspector's Report (October 2023) Following the examination the Planning Inspector will decide whether or not the plan is legally compliant and 'sound'. In this decision the Inspector will take into account the representations received and consider the plan against the 'tests of soundness' detailed in the NPPF (paragraph 35). If the Inspector does not find the plan 'sound' and legally compliant then the Council will have to undertake the preparation of the plan again. The Inspector can recommend main modifications to the plan to make it legally compliant and 'sound' if required. If the Inspector does find the plan 'sound' and legally compliant then the Council can decide to adopt the plan.
2.22 Adoption (December 2023) Once the Council has received the Inspector's report and implemented any modifications required to the Plan, the Council will then make the decision whether to adopt the Plan or not. On adoption, the Council will produce an adoption statement that will be advertised in the local press and the adopted Plan, sustainability appraisal and adoption statement will be made available for inspection. The adopted NM&WLP will form part of the Development Plan for Norfolk.