Minerals and Waste Local Plan: Pre-Submission Publication
Minerals Specific Policies
MP1. Provision for minerals extraction – STRATEGIC POLICY
MP1.1 The NPPF states that Mineral Planning Authorities should plan for a steady and adequate supply of aggregates. The aggregates that are extracted within Norfolk are sand and gravel, and carstone.
Sand and gravel requirements and shortfall
MP1.2 The NPPG advises that the 10-year rolling average, 3 year rolling average and the sub-national guidelines should all be considered in order to establish a broad understanding of current and future mineral demand, especially during reviews of planned provision. The NPPF (paragraph 213) states that other relevant local information and an assessment of all supply options should also be taken into account when planning for a steady and adequate supply of aggregates. This information is contained in the Local Aggregate Assessments produced annually by Norfolk County Council.
MP1.3 The sub-national guidelines are for Norfolk to produce 2.57 million tonnes of sand and gravel a year. However, in the last 10 years (2011-2020) this has not been reflected in the actual sand and gravel production in Norfolk, which has not met the sub-national guidelines at any time in the last ten years and has only reached 2.57 million tonnes twice in the last 20 years. During the last 10 years sand and gravel production has only been between 43% and 63% of the sub-national guidelines. Therefore, the sub-national guidelines for sand and gravel are considered to be too high. In addition, the sub-national guideline figures only covered the period 2005-2020 and have not been updated, making these figures increasingly obsolete.
MP1.4 The average sand and gravel production in Norfolk over the last 10 years (2011–2020) was 1.369 million tonnes per annum (tpa). Using the 10-year sales average to forecast the future need for sand and gravel would mean that sites for 10.131 million tonnes of sand and gravel extraction would need to be allocated over the plan period. The 10-year sales average is lower than the 3-year sales average (2018-2020) of 1.384 million tonnes. Therefore, the 10-year sales average is considered to be slightly too low to use when forecasting future need for a steady and adequate supply of aggregate in Norfolk.
MP1.5 The NPPG suggests the use of 3-year average figures to indicate recent trends in sales. The average sand and gravel production in Norfolk over the last three years (2018-2020) was 1.384 million tonnes per annum. Whilst this is lower than the previous 3-year average, it is still higher than each of the seven years from 2010 to 2017, therefore showing a general upward trend and production levels above the 10-year average.
MP1.6 The permitted reserve of sand and gravel at 31/12/2020 was 14,511,385 tonnes. The permitted reserve therefore currently provides a landbank of more than 7 years' worth of sand and gravel production as required by the NPPF.
MP1.7 Due to the 3-year sales average being slightly higher than the 10-year sales average, a 10% buffer (0.137 million tpa) has been added to the 10-year average in the calculation of forecast need during the Plan period. Over the 18-year plan period to 2038, using the 10-year average plus 10% (1.506 million tonnes per annum), 27.108 million tonnes of sand and gravel resources would be needed in total. Taking into account the existing permitted reserve, the remaining need for allocated sites is 12.597 million tonnes of sand and gravel.
(2) Calculation of forecast need for sand and gravel
- The 10-year sales average for sand and gravel (2011-2020) is 1.369 million tonnes per annum (tpa)
- For flexibility an additional 10% of 0.137 million tpa has been included for each year
- This is a total forecast need of 1.506 million tpa
- The forecast need for sand and gravel from 2021-2038 is therefore 1.506 million tpa x 18 years = 27.108 million tonnes
- Sand and gravel permitted reserve at 31/12/2020 = 14.511 million tonnes
- Total shortfall is the forecast need minus permitted reserve = 12.597 million tonnes
The total shortfall and the minimum quantity to be allocated is therefore 12.597 million tonnes which is equivalent to a need for 9.2 years' further supply over the period of the Minerals and Waste Local Plan.
MP1.8 In addition to land won aggregates, secondary and recycled aggregates are also sourced within Norfolk. Data for the production of recycled and secondary aggregates is limited, and less reliable than for other types of aggregate. The annual average quantity of inert and construction/demolition waste recovered at waste management facilities over the ten years from 2011-2020 was 460,383 tonnes per annum, however, some parts of this waste stream are unsuitable for use as a recycled aggregate (such as soil or timber). The data is not comprehensive because many operations, such as on-site recovery, are not recorded. Therefore, it is not proposed to make any adjustments to the forecast need for aggregate mineral based on recycled and secondary aggregate provision due to the quality of the data.
MP1.9 Limited data is available on marine sourced aggregates because this information is only available through the four yearly national Aggregate Mineral Surveys. In 2014 less than 500 tonnes of marine sourced aggregates were consumed in Norfolk and no marine sourced aggregates were consumed in Norfolk in 2019 (the most recently available data). Therefore, marine sourced aggregate represents such a small percentage of the total aggregates used in Norfolk it is not proposed to make any adjustments to the forecast need for aggregate mineral due to marine sourced aggregates.
Carstone requirement and shortfall
(1) MP1.10 The NPPG advises that the 10-year rolling average, 3-year rolling average and the sub-national guidelines should all be considered in order to establish a broad understanding of current and future mineral demand, especially during reviews of planned provision. The NPPF states that other relevant local information and an assessment of all supply options should also be taken into account when planning for a steady and adequate supply of aggregate. This information is contained in the Local Aggregate Assessments produced annually by Norfolk County Council.
MP1.11 The sub-national guidelines are for Norfolk to produce 200,000 tonnes of carstone a year. However, in the last 10 years (2011-2020) this has not been reflected in the actual carstone production in Norfolk, which has not met the sub-national guidelines at any time in the last 10 years and has only reached 200,000 tpa once in the last 20 years. During the last ten years carstone production has only been between 19% and 59% of the sub-national guidelines. Therefore, the sub-national guidelines for carstone are considered to be too high. In addition, the sub-national guideline figures only covered the period 2005-2020 and have not been updated, making these figures increasingly obsolete.
MP1.12 The average Carstone production in Norfolk over the last ten years (2011-2020) was 75,138 tpa. Using the 10-year sales average to forecast the future need for carstone would mean that no additional carstone extraction sites are required to be allocated over the plan period.
MP1.13 The average carstone production in Norfolk over the last three years (2018-2020) was 67,354 tonnes per annum. The production of carstone in Norfolk is concentrated into relatively few workings and the production fluctuates significantly from year-to-year dependent on individual construction projects that require significant fill material. These fluctuations mean that the three-year rolling average can also vary significantly year-to-year; this means that it is of less value in helping to identify production trends for carstone. Due to the variations in Carstone sales over recent years meaning that there is not a clear trend, a 10% buffer has been added to the 10-year average in the calculation of forecast need during the Plan period.
MP1.14 The permitted reserve of carstone, at 31/12/2020 was 1,663,000 tonnes. The permitted reserve therefore currently provides a landbank of more than 10 years' worth of carstone production, as required by the NPPF.
MP1.15 Over the 18-year plan period to 2038, using the 10-year average plus 10% (82,650 tpa), a total of 1,487,700 tonnes of carstone resources would be needed. The existing permitted reserves are higher than this forecast need and therefore there is not a shortfall of Carstone during the plan period. However, the current permitted reserve is contained in only three sites, which may not provide sufficient flexibility to meet any future increase in demand for carstone. Therefore, it is considered that for the plan to be positively prepared, a site for carstone extraction should be allocated.
Calculation of forecast need for carstone
- The 10-year sales average for carstone (2011-2020) is 0.075 million tonnes per annum (tpa)
- For flexibility an additional 10% of 0.008 million tpa has been included for each year
- This is a total forecast need of 0.083 million tpa
- The forecast need for Carstone from 2021-2038 is therefore 0.083 million tpa x 18 years = 1.494 million tonnes
- Carstone permitted reserve at 31/12/2020 = 1.663 million tonnes
- Total shortfall is the forecast need minus permitted reserve = -0.169 million tonnes
Therefore, there is no forecast shortfall of Carstone reserve during the period of the Minerals and Waste Local Plan because the permitted reserve is greater than the forecast need.
Silica sand requirement and shortfall
MP1.16 The NPPF states that Minerals Planning Authorities should plan for a steady and adequate supply of industrial minerals. The industrial mineral that is extracted in Norfolk is silica sand which is used for the manufacture of glass. The silica sand is processed at an existing plant site, operated by Sibelco UK Ltd, which is located at Leziate. The processing plant site includes a rail head to export the processed mineral for use by glass manufacturers elsewhere.
MP1.17 The NPPF states that the supply of silica sand should be planned as years' worth of production for the plant within a Mineral Planning Authority's area. The stock of permitted reserves of silica sand should be at least 10 years' production for individual silica sand sites, and if significant new capital is required, then stocks for at least 15 years production should be planned for. There are no sub-national guidelines for silica sand extraction.
MP1.18 The average silica sand production in Norfolk over the last 10 years (2011-2020) was 800,051 tonnes per annum. The average silica sand production in Norfolk over the last 3 years (2018-2020) was 814,625 tonnes per annum. 10-year average sales data and 3-year average sales data is provided to Norfolk County Council annually by Sibelco UK Ltd, but annual silica sand production data is not provided. The NPPF makes a specific link between silica sand supply and the production of the plant that it is supplying; therefore, it is considered appropriate to forecast the need for silica sand extraction in Norfolk based on the maximum lawful throughput of the Leziate Processing Plant Site, which is 0.754 million tonnes of raw silica sand per annum.
(1) MP1.19 The largest single industrial use for silica sand is glass-making, including container glass (such as bottles and jars) and float glass (such as windows and automotive glass). The UK glass packaging recycling rate in 2019 was 72.5% (DEFRA UK Statistics on waste). There is potential to increase float glass recycling in the UK as the majority of float glass currently recycled is from the manufacturing process (pre-consumed glass) rather than glass that has been utilised in end products, this is because there needs to be a high visual quality for float glass to be reused, so it cannot be contaminated in any way when being recycled. However, high purity silica sand, such as is found in Norfolk is needed in order to produce glass from recycled glass cullet; it is an ingredient within the feedstock which balances the higher level of impurities found in recycled glass so that glass of acceptable quality can be made. It is not possible to quantify the impact that potential glass recycling increases in the UK would have on the need for silica sand from Norfolk during the Plan period. Therefore, it is not proposed to make any adjustments to the forecast need for silica sand based on recycled glass.
MP1.20 The permitted reserve of silica sand, at 31/12/2020 is estimated at 3.232 million tonnes. The permitted reserve therefore provides a landbank of less than 10 years' worth of silica sand production, which is below the level required by the NPPF. However, the permitted reserve is dependent upon the submission of suitable planning applications. Planning permission was granted in August 2021 for the extraction of 1.1 million tonnes of silica sand at Bawsey (allocated site SIL 01). A planning application for the extraction of 3 million tonnes of silica sand at East Winch (allocated site MIN 40) was received in 2018 and had not been determined by December 2021. However, even with the inclusion of the mineral resource in both these planning applications, the landbank of permitted reserves would still be less than 10 years' worth of silica sand production.
Calculation of forecast need for silica sand
- The maximum total lawful throughput per annum for the Leziate Plant Site is 0.754 million tonnes of silica sand
- The forecast need for silica sand from 2021-2038 is therefore 0.754 million tpa x 18 years = 13.57 million tonnes
- Silica sand permitted reserve at 31/12/2020 = 3.232 million tonnes
- Total shortfall is the forecast need minus permitted reserve = 10.34 million tonnes
The total shortfall and the minimum quantity to be allocated is therefore 10.34 million tonnes which is equivalent to a need for 13.7 years' further supply over the period of the Minerals and Waste Local Plan.
MP1.21 Clay and chalk are also extracted in Norfolk. However, the resource for these minerals is considered to be abundant in Norfolk relative to the demand.
MP1.22 There is no national policy requirement to maintain a landbank for clay or chalk and therefore it is considered that there is no need to allocate additional sites for these minerals over the plan period. Any planning applications coming forward for clay or chalk extraction will be considered on their merits.
MP1.23 The NPPF states that Local Plans should not identify new sites or extensions to existing sites for peat extraction.
(8) Policy MP1: Provision for minerals extraction – STRATEGIC POLICY
The strategy for minerals extraction is to allocate sufficient sites to meet the forecast need for both sand & gravel and hard rock (carstone).
For sand and gravel, specific sites to deliver at least 12.597 million tonnes of resources will be allocated. The sand and gravel landbank will be maintained at a level of at least 7 years' supply (excluding any contribution from borrow pits for major construction projects).
Mineral extraction for sand and gravel outside of allocated sites will be resisted by the Mineral Planning Authority unless the applicant can demonstrate:
a) There is an overriding justification and/or overriding benefit for the proposed extraction, and
b) The proposal is consistent with all other relevant policies set out in the Development Plan.
There is not a forecast shortfall in permitted reserves for Carstone during the Plan period. However, a site for carstone will be allocated to provide flexibility to meet any future increase in demand for carstone. The landbank for carstone will be maintained at a level of at least 10 years' supply.
For silica sand, sufficient sites to deliver at least 10.34 million tonnes of silica sand resources will be required during the Plan period. The landbank for silica sand will be maintained at a level of at least 10 years' supply where practicable. Planning applications for silica sand extraction located outside of allocated sites, which would address the shortfall in permitted reserves, will be determined on their own merits in accordance with the policies in this Local Plan, including the requirements contained within Policy MPSS1.
MP1.24 National guidance sets the Plan at the heart of the planning system with a statutory requirement that planning decisions are taken in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
MP1.25 Paragraph 15 of the NPPF states that the planning system should be genuinely plan-led and provide a framework for addressing need and other economic, social and environmental priorities. To ensure future sand and gravel extraction is clearly focused on the Spatial Strategy and the identified allocated sites in this Plan, other proposals for sand and gravel extraction at locations situated outside of the areas identified for future working will normally be resisted by the Mineral Planning Authority (MPA). There may, however, be circumstances where an 'over-riding justification' and/ or over-riding benefit for mineral development can be demonstrated. Mineral extraction on unallocated sites may occur in relation to:
- Agricultural irrigation reservoirs – where mineral is extracted and exported to create the reservoir landform,
- Borrow pits – where extraction takes place over a limited period for the exclusive use of a specific construction project such as for a specific road scheme,
- Prior extraction to prevent mineral sterilisation – this may be required on occasions where significant development takes place (on a site of over 2 hectares) and where a workable mineral resource could otherwise be permanently lost through sterilisation.
MP1.26 Such proposals will be considered on their own individual merits and the MPA will pay particular regard to the justification/ need that is cited by applicants when determining planning applications. The MPA must be satisfied that there are exceptional reasons for permitting such applications, after having considered all the relevant circumstances so as not to prejudice the overall strategy of the document. All proposals will be considered against policies in the Development Plan.
(1) MP1.27 Where proposals are put forward on the basis of fulfilling some form of 'mineral need' for minerals extraction, then the MPA will always require consideration of the whole of the County for the purposes of estimating the adequacy of the landbank or the sufficiency of the Plan's provision. The MPA does not consider that information about mineral supply in specific County sub-areas, or the individual commercial business need of a mineral operator to continue production at a particular mineral extraction site, to be relevant or material to its decisions in respect of unallocated Sites.
MP1.28 Due to only two specific sites (containing an estimated mineral resource of 4.1 million tonnes) being found suitable to allocate for silica sand extraction, flexibility has been provided within Policy MP1 to enable planning applications for silica sand extraction which would address the shortfall in permitted silica sand reserves, to be considered on their own merits, with specific requirements contained in criteria-based Policy MPSS1 to be used in the determination of applications for silica sand extraction on any unallocated sites.
MP2. Spatial strategy for minerals extraction – STRATEGIC POLICY
(1) MP2.1 The Key Diagram and Policy MP2 below set out a spatial strategy for minerals development within Norfolk. These following factors have been considered in the spatial strategy for minerals:
- minerals can only be worked where they occur;
- crushed rock is imported, primarily by rail from outside of the County via rail heads located at Norwich, Snetterton and Brandon;
- marine borne crushed rock is landed at a wharf at Great Yarmouth for onward transport by road;
- the nearest location where marine dredged sand and gravel aggregates are landed is at Ipswich docks in Suffolk;
- aggregates recycling facilities should be located with suitable access to the road network and in proximity to centres of population and therefore sources of waste;
- the Norfolk Route Hierarchy provides a recognised hierarchy of roads. HGVs should take the shortest practicable route (avoiding inappropriate junctions and travel through settlements where possible) to access the strategic highway network at the earliest appropriate point;
- significant areas of the County are within the statutory landscape designations of the Norfolk & Suffolk Broads, and the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty;
- significant areas of the County are within statutory ecological designations of Ramsar, Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation and Sites of Special Scientific Interest;
- the county's larger settlements will be the locations of greatest housing and employment growth in Norfolk during the Plan period
- the existing processing plant for silica sand is located at Leziate.
MP2.2 Mineral deposits can only be extracted where they occur, so the spatial strategy for mineral extraction is prescribed to a large extent by the geological distribution of mineral resources within Norfolk. The Norfolk Mineral Resources Map, published by the British Geological Survey (BGS), as amended by the BGS DiGmapGB-50 dataset, includes a breakdown of mineral types and distribution. The key diagram shows the location of the sand and gravel, carstone and silica sand resources in Norfolk; it also shows the location of currently operational mineral extraction sites.
MP2.3 The key diagram shows that sand and gravel resources are abundant and located widely in Norfolk, with the exception of the Fens area in west Norfolk, although the ratio of sand to gravel varies significantly. Carstone and silica sand deposits are located in very limited areas of Norfolk, with both resources only occurring in a north/south band in west Norfolk. Specific site allocations, for future mineral extraction will be identified based on these resource areas.
MP2.4 Silica sand is mostly exported out of Norfolk by train, for glass production elsewhere. Therefore, within the confines of the available mineral resource, the spatial preference for new silica sand extraction sites is for sites which would be able to access the existing processing plant and railhead at Leziate via conveyor, pipeline or off-public highway haul routes.
(1) MP2.5 Sand and gravel is used in the construction of roads and buildings and is a key ingredient in the production of concrete and mortar, asphalt coating for roads, as a drainage medium and in the construction of embankments and foundations. Norfolk's urban areas and main towns are the locations where there will be the greatest need for a supply of aggregate for new housing developments and associated infrastructure.
MP2.6 The settlement hierarchy is defined by the Local Planning Authorities in Norfolk. The urban areas and main towns are:
Urban Areas: Norwich, King's Lynn (including West Lynn), Thetford, Attleborough, Great Yarmouth and Gorleston-on-Sea
The Norwich urban area includes the built-up parts of the urban fringe parishes of Colney, Costessey, Cringleford, Trowse, Thorpe St Andrew, Sprowston, Old Catton, Hellesdon, Drayton and Taverham.
Main Towns: Aylsham, Cromer, Dereham, Diss, Downham Market, Fakenham, Harleston, Holt, Hunstanton, North Walsham, Swaffham, Watton, Wymondham
(1) MP2.7 Locating mineral extraction sites in proximity to the locations of greatest housing and employment growth in Norfolk during the Plan period is expected to contribute to minimising greenhouse gas emissions arising from road transport by locating mineral workings close to the market for the mineral, or close to the processing plant site in the case of silica sand.
MP2.8 The landscape designations of the Norfolk Coast AONB and the Broads Authority Executive Area are shown on the Key Diagram and the Policies Map along with the national and international ecological designations of Ramsar sites, SPAs, SACs (known as habitats sites) and SSSIs. Some of these landscape and ecological designations occur in proximity to Norfolk's urban areas and main towns and are protected by national planning policy and in legislation.
MP2.9 There are over 10,900 Listed Buildings, over 430 Scheduled Monuments, 53 Registered Parks and Gardens and over 280 Conservation Areas in Norfolk. These designated heritage assets are shown on the Policies Map and are protected by legislation and in national planning policy. However, due to the number and scale of these designated heritage assets they are not shown on the Key Diagram.
MP2.10 The National Planning Practice Guidance states that mineral planning authorities should plan for the steady and adequate supply of minerals in one or more of the following ways (in order of priority):
- designating Specific Sites – where viable mineral resources are known to exist, landowners are supportive of minerals development and the proposal is likely to be acceptable in planning terms. Such sites may also include essential operations associated with mineral extraction;
- designating Preferred Areas, which are areas of known mineral resources where planning permission might reasonably be anticipated. Such areas may also include essential operations associated with mineral extraction; and/or
- designating Areas of Search – areas where knowledge of mineral resources may be less certain but within which planning permission may be granted, particularly if there is a potential shortfall in supply.
MP2.10 It is considered that the spatial strategy in Policy MP2, of specific sites for Carstone or sand and gravel extraction within five miles of one of Norfolk's urban areas or three miles of one of the main towns provides for sufficient locations for aggregate mineral extraction within Norfolk. Therefore, it is not considered appropriate or necessary to include Key Service Centres, which are a lower tier in the settlement hierarchy, within the spatial strategy policy. It is also not considered necessary or appropriate to increase the distance at which aggregate mineral extraction sites could be located from urban areas or main towns to any greater than five miles as this would cover the majority of the County and therefore would not provide an appropriate spatial strategy.
(1) MP2.11 Designating specific sites in minerals plans provides the most certainty on when and where development may take place.
(6) Policy MP2: Spatial Strategy for minerals extraction – STRATEGIC POLICY
Within the resource areas identified on the key diagram, specific sites for sand and gravel or carstone extraction should be located within five miles of one of Norfolk's urban areas or three miles of one of the main towns and/or be well-related to one of Norfolk's urban areas or main towns via appropriate transport infrastructure.
For the purpose of this policy Norfolk's main towns are Aylsham, Cromer, Dereham, Diss, Downham Market, Fakenham, Harleston, Holt, Hunstanton, North Walsham, Swaffham, Watton and Wymondham. Norfolk's urban areas are King's Lynn (including West Lynn), Thetford, Attleborough, Great Yarmouth, Gorleston-on-Sea and Norwich [the Norwich urban area includes the built-up parts of the urban fringe parishes of Colney, Costessey, Cringleford, Trowse, Thorpe St Andrew, Sprowston, Old Catton, Hellesdon, Drayton and Taverham].
Within the resource area identified on the key diagram, specific sites for silica sand should be located where they are able to access the existing processing plant and railhead at Leziate via conveyor, pipeline or off-public highway haul route.
This spatial strategy for mineral extraction sites is subject to the proposed development not being located within:
- the Broads Authority Executive Area or the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, other than in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated that the development is in the public interest, or
- a Site of Special Scientific Interest or a habitats site and which is likely to have an adverse effect on it, or
- ancient woodland, or
- a designated heritage asset, including listed buildings, registered parks and gardens, and scheduled monuments, or their settings if the proposed development would cause substantial harm to or the loss of the heritage asset
MPSS1. Silica Sand extraction sites
MPSS1.1 As set out in Policy MP1; the forecast need for additional silica sand resources is 10.34 million tonnes over the Plan period. Whilst site specific allocations have been made for 4.1 million tonnes of silica sand resource, they are not sufficient on their own to meet the forecast need. There are no other specific sites or preferred areas suitable to allocate for silica sand extraction primarily due to the proximity of RAF Marham to large parts of the silica sand resource and the concerns raised by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation about the bird strike risks to aircraft from the creation of large areas of open water following mineral extraction.
(1) MPSS1.2 The potential to allocate Areas of Search for silica sand extraction within the Leziate Beds silica sand resource (as mapped by the British Geological Survey) has also been fully explored. However, in addition to the safeguarding area around RAF Marham, large parts of the silica sand resource are within the setting of the Norfolk Coast AONB, the impact risk zone for The Wash SSSI or other SSSIs, the hydrogeological catchment around Roydon Common SSSI and Dersingham Bog SSSI, the setting of designated heritage assets, on designated Open Access Land, on Grade 1 and 2 Best and Most Versatile agricultural land and in proximity to sensitive receptors such as residential dwellings. The remaining areas of the silica sand resource would be too fragmentary to form an appropriately sized area within which to find a potentially viable silica sand extraction site. Therefore, Areas of Search are no longer considered to be a deliverable method to use to plan for future silica sand provision in Norfolk and a criteria-based policy for the consideration of any future planning applications for silica sand extraction, is considered to be the most appropriate and effective method of planning for the remaining forecast need during the Plan period.
MPSS1.3 Due to the need to address a predicted shortfall in the quantity of allocated silica sand extraction sites, the following criteria-based policy will apply to applications for silica sand extraction on unallocated sites.
(7) Policy MPSS1: Silica sand extraction sites – STRATEGIC POLICY
Planning applications for silica sand extraction located outside of allocated sites, which would address the shortfall in permitted reserves, will be subject to compliance with the Minerals and Waste Local Plan policies and all the following requirements:
- To address the shortfall in silica sand supply to meet the requirements of the existing processing plant (as set out in the NPPF);
- Submission of an acceptable noise assessment, an acceptable air quality/dust assessment and a programme of mitigation measures (e.g. standoff areas, screening and/or bunding, operational practices) to deal appropriately with any potential impacts;
- Submission of an acceptable Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment to identify potential landscape impacts, together with suitable mitigation measures to address the impacts and manage change in ways that will best sustain heritage values. The LVIA will include Core River Valleys, the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings, Registered Parks and Gardens, Conservation Areas, non-designated heritage assets of archaeological interest and their settings where appropriate;
- Submission of an acceptable Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation to sustain heritage values if required. As a result of the historically complex and significant environment in which the mineral resource is present, applicants should consider the potential for early engagement with Historic England, the Norfolk Historic Environment Service and Conservation Officers in the preparation of the Heritage Statement;
- An appropriate archaeological assessment must be prepared in consultation with Norfolk County Council; this may initially be desk-based but may need to be followed up with field surveys and trial-trenching. The archaeological assessment will be used by Norfolk County Council/Historic Environment Service to agree appropriate mitigation measures;
- Submission of an acceptable Hydrogeological Impact Assessment; based on proportionate evidence,
- to identify potential impacts to groundwater quality, quantity and levels; and
- to propose appropriate mitigation to protect any abstraction points, ecosystems and surface water features that are reliant on groundwater, in particular SSSIs, SACs and SPAs.
The assessment will need to consider the precautionary principle as it relates to European designations. The assessment should include a programme of mitigation measures to address identified potential impacts;
- Submission of an acceptable Biodiversity Survey and Report, including a protected species assessment. If protected species are found on the proposed extraction site, then appropriate mitigation will be required;
- Submission of an acceptable assessment of the potential for impacts on Water Framework Directive waterbodies, including from silt ingress and modification, and appropriate mitigation to prevent unacceptable adverse impacts;
- A sufficient stand-off distance around any water main that crosses the site or diversion of the water main at the developers' costs and to the satisfaction of Anglian Water;
- Submission of an acceptable Arboricultural Impact Assessment to identify the impact of the development on existing trees and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required;
- Submission of a suitable scheme for the temporary diversion and reinstatement of any Public Rights of Way located within the site;
- Submission of a detailed agricultural land survey to identify subgrades, if the application area contains Grade 3 agricultural land. Land identified as being within the Best and Most Versatile classification (grades 1, 2, 3a) will require a working scheme which incorporates a soil management and handling strategy which is compliant with Policy MW5;
- The existing processing plant should be accessed via conveyor, pipeline or off-public highway routes. However, if silica sand is proposed to be transported to the processing plant using the public highway then there will be a preference for a transport route which minimises amenity impacts through the use of off-highway haul routes from the B1145 to the processing plant. A right-turn lane at the junction with the B1145 would probably be required to provide a suitable junction;
- Submission of an acceptable Transport Assessment or Statement which considers the potential for transport impacts and identifies appropriate mitigation measures, including highway improvements where appropriate, to address these impacts;
- Submission of a comprehensive phased working and restoration scheme, incorporating opportunities on restoration for ecological enhancement and biodiversity net gains, the improvement of public access and geological exposures for future study;
- Submission of an acceptable Bird Hazard Assessment report if the site is located within a statutory birdstrike safeguarding consultation zone. The Bird Hazard Assessment report will identify the risk of bird hazard to the safe operation of aerodromes and aircraft, identify proposed mitigation of any identified risk, and include a Bird Hazard Management Plan if necessary; and
- Submission of an acceptable site specific Flood Risk Assessment and sequential test demonstrating that the development is located in an area of the silica sand resource with the lowest risk of flooding from any source.
MP3. Borrow pits
MP3.1 A 'borrow pit' is a temporary mineral working to supply material for a specific construction project. Major construction projects, especially road schemes, can demand considerable quantities of aggregate, particularly low grade fill material. In some cases this can be sourced near to major construction projects, which can have advantages over established extraction sites, by reducing the impact of concentrated flows of heavy goods traffic on the public highway. A proposal of this nature must be able to demonstrate that it represents the most appropriate source of mineral to meet the additional demand.
(2) Policy MP3: Borrow pits
Borrow pits will be permitted so long as the applicant can demonstrate that:
- The borrow pit will only be used in connection with a major construction project with which it is associated; and
- The pit is the most appropriate source of mineral to meet the additional demand; and
- The pit can be accessed from the construction project site either directly or via a short length of suitable highway; and
- The scale of the extraction is no more than the minimum essential for the purpose of the project; and
- It will be worked and restored, by the completion of the related construction project; and
- Material will not be imported to the borrow pit other than from the project itself, unless such material is required to achieve beneficial restoration; and
- Extraction from the site causes less environmental damage than would result from using material from an established source of supply; and
- Proposals comply with the development management criteria in Policy MW1.
MP4. Agricultural or potable water reservoirs
MP4.1 Policy MP4 applies to proposals for new reservoirs, or extensions to existing reservoirs with incidental mineral extraction, involving removal of sand and gravel off-site. Such proposals will need to demonstrate that there is a proven need for the reservoir proposed at the given location. Such need could be demonstrated, for example, by the Environment Agency agreeing that a proposal for a winter-fill agricultural reservoir or potable water reservoir is justifiable and acceptable, or by the need for additional potable water reservoirs being identified within Anglian Water's Water Resource Management Plan. The scale, phasing and duration of the mineral extraction required to form the reservoir must therefore not cause any delay to the provision of the reservoir. As the mineral extraction is incidental to the provision of the reservoir, the quantity of mineral extracted should only be the minimum required to enable the reservoir to be created. This could be demonstrated by providing details of the planned dimensions of the completed reservoir and the quantity of mineral necessary to be extracted in order to create the reservoir.
(1) Policy MP4: Agricultural or potable water reservoirs
Proposals for agricultural reservoirs, potable water reservoirs with incidental mineral extraction involving off-site removal of minerals will be permitted, so long as the applicant can demonstrate that:
- there is a proven need for the reservoir proposed at the given location; and
- the scale of the extraction is no more than the minimum essential for the purpose of the proposal; and
- the phasing and duration of development adequately reflects the importance of the early delivery of water resources or other approved development; and
- the proposal complies with the development management criteria set out in Policy MW1.
Planning applications for the formation of reservoirs that do not involve any incidental mineral extraction are not County matters and will be determined by the Local Planning Authority.
MP5. Core River Valleys
MP5.1 Norfolk's river valleys constitute a very important and valued element of Norfolk's landscape character, ranging from the fast-flowing chalk streams of the north-west of the county feeding to the Wash (such as the River Bablingley), slow-flowing rivers draining to the north Norfolk coast (such as the River Glaven) and the larger rivers of the Broads area (such as the rivers Bure, Yare, Wensum and Waveney). The county's river valleys were surveyed by Norfolk County Council during the 1990s to identify, in landscape terms, the areas considered to be core to the character of the river valley landscape. The Core River Valleys normally include the floodplains of the rivers and their major tributaries but in some cases the core areas also include the lower valley slopes where these are clearly defined, such as where grazing land extends up to a hedge or tree line on the valley sides. Core River Valleys have not been defined in areas located within the Broads, because the Broads landscape is already nationally protected. The locations of the Core River Valleys are shown on the Policies Map.
MP5.2 The Core River Valleys in Norfolk and their associated grazing pastures offer a marked landscape contrast to the more common, intensively cultivated farmland and are vital ecological habitats and corridors, supporting a variety of biodiversity habitats and species. In this respect, Core River Valleys are a key component in the development of Norfolk's identified Green Infrastructure corridors.
MP5.3 Sand and gravel resources are commonly found in river valleys and many of Norfolk's river valleys have therefore been quarried for aggregate extensively over many years. This has led to many large bodies of open water left on restoration of past mineral workings which are not in keeping with the general character of Norfolk's river valleys.
MP5.4 Although not formally designated, safeguarding the Core River Valleys will help preserve the unique and rich quality of Norfolk's landscape and natural heritage.
(5) Policy MP5: Core River Valleys
Minerals development will only be permitted in Core River Valleys (as shown on the Policies Map) where the applicant demonstrates that the development will:
- enhance the form, local character and distinctiveness of the landscape and historic environment; and
- enhance the biodiversity of the river valley (either immediately or on restoration); and
- not impede floodplain functionality.
An assessment of any impacts from mineral development will include:
- consideration of the potential impacts or enhancement of the landscape, the historic environment and the natural environment, both during and after working;
- the impacts of any additional areas of open water created through mineral extraction;
- the duration of any adverse impacts, and mitigation and/or compensatory measures, as appropriate, to replace losses; and
- the provision of any long-term asset enhancement through restoration proposals.
MP6. Cumulative impacts and phasing of workings
MP6.1 Minerals can only be worked where they occur. Where viable mineral deposits are present, sometimes more than one mineral company may wish to exploit them at sites which are closely located. This can increase the impacts of operations to an extent that they become unacceptable. It is therefore important to ensure that, where there are a number of sites proposed close together or new sites proposed close to existing operations, the potential cumulative impacts are considered fully and satisfactorily mitigated.
MP6.2 Mitigating measures might include such measures as the phasing of extraction operations so that one site is completed before a second commences, a restriction on the number of HGV movements or the timetabling of such movements, undertaking pre-extraction landscaping works to reduce cumulative visual impacts and addressing needed junction improvements.
MP6.3 This policy aims to provide clarity as to how the County Council will consider such circumstances.
(2) Policy MP6: Cumulative impacts and phasing of workings
Where the cumulative impact of a proposed mineral extraction site, in conjunction with other existing, permitted or allocated mineral extraction sites in the proximity is considered unacceptable, the proposal may be found acceptable if:
- it is phased so that one site follows the completion of the other, or
- the applicant can demonstrate that the adverse cumulative impacts can be adequately mitigated.
Proposals must also comply with the development management criteria in Policy MW1.
MP7. Progressive working, restoration and after-use
MP7.1 Proposals for new mineral working areas can be extensive, reflecting the industry's need to be able to plan a number of years in advance. It is normal practice to work medium and larger sites in phases and to progressively restore each phase. Progressive working and restoration can lessen the overall impact of mineral working on the environment and minimise loss of agricultural production. The direction of working can be particularly relevant to the impact on residential and local amenity, and working arrangements that significantly impact on a restored phase or prevent restoration of a worked-out phase should be avoided.
(2) MP7.2 Suitable restoration and after-use must therefore be considered for minerals extraction sites. Once a phase of operation is complete, or use of a whole site has ceased, there are often different opportunities for restoration and after-use of sites. Where possible, restoration should be focused on providing multiple benefits of landscape, geodiversity and biodiversity enhancement through restoration with public amenity value. However, it may be decided that a site, wholly or partly, would be better suited to being restored to agriculture, to leisure and recreational development, or to water storage, which could provide benefits for flood alleviation or water supply. Applicants should note that ecological interest can be incorporated into most schemes that are primarily for another after-use and minerals developments must provide biodiversity net gains in accordance with the requirements of the Environment Act 2021.
MP7.3 An ecological network has been mapped for each district in Norfolk and comprises of the following elements:
- Clusters of high value wildlife sites forming core areas
- Enhancement or habitat creation areas
- Corridors and stepping stones designed to promote connectivity between the sites and through the wider landscape
- Buffer areas surrounding these sites to reduce the adverse impacts from adjacent land-uses
Information on the ecological networks is available on the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership website.
MP7.4 Restoration schemes for mineral workings should wherever possible provide priority habitats to encourage priority species. Restoration proposals should be matched to existing priority habitats in proximity, to allow for greater connectivity through the landscape for local species. This will also help create a more permeable landscape for the movement of species' ranges in response to climate change in the future. Wherever possible, if there is the potential for native species seeds to be present in the seed bank at the start of the working period, then such soils should be stored appropriately to ensure that it can be used in any restoration scheme and allow for recolonization by native flora. A list of the priority habitats and species can be found on the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership website.
(2) MP7.5 The Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service carried out a Green Infrastructure Mapping project in 2018 which provides a county-wide green infrastructure network made up of identified Green Infrastructure Corridors throughout the county, along with a prioritisation of opportunities. The Green Infrastructure Mapping also shows the location of native habitat corridors/core areas of grassland-heathland, woodland and wetland. It is important that areas of native habitat are joined together into an overarching network as this can ensure they are more resilient to changing climates and stresses. Larger and better-connected areas of natural habitats are also recognised as a key strategy for maintain biodiversity.
MP7.6 The Climate Change Act commits the UK government to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100% of 1990 levels (net zero) by 2050. Forestry and woodlands act as carbon sinks and capture greenhouse gas emissions whilst habitat creation and the expansion of existing habitats can increase the resilience of the natural environment to cope with climate change. There is the opportunity to incorporate trees and other natural landscape features into the restoration and after-use of mineral extraction sites to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaption measures.
(1) MP7.7 Where restoration creates permanently filled water bodies these may be suitable as Ark sites to protect the white clawed crayfish, which would be encouraged. Where such waterbodies are isolated from existing rivers, protection is given from invasive crayfish and the crayfish plague they carry.
(1) MP7.8 When planning a restoration scheme, it is important that the setting of heritage assets, the historic character of landscape and the archaeology of the extraction site itself are given due consideration. Landscape characterisation techniques can inform decision-making, enabling restoration to reflect or harmonise with the character of the surrounding landscape. The results of archaeological investigation, in advance of and during extraction programmes, can provide evidence of past land use that can help to inform decisions on appropriate future land use.
MP7.9 Planning obligations and/or conditions will be used to ensure that progressive restoration and commencement of after-use takes place within an appropriate time-frame during the site's operations or after completion of working phases. Any site restored to 'public amenity' must provide appropriate access to the general public. Planning conditions and/or obligations may be used to determine the required duration of aftercare of restored sites and an agreement for management of such sites in the long term, where appropriate.
MP7.10 Upon cessation of working and restoration of a minerals site, the removal of some local road improvements may be required to meet the provisions outlined in Policy MP7. This will mainly relate to the lower designated, rural routes in the route hierarchy, securing for example the removal of kerbed site accesses and visibility splays, in the interests of landscape and local amenity.
(9) Policy MP7: Progressive working, restoration and after-use
Proposals for new mineral working areas and extensions to existing mineral workings must be accompanied by a scheme for the phased and progressive working and restoration of the site throughout its life to ensure that the worked land is reclaimed at the earliest opportunity. Phased and progressive working and restoration must seek to reduce and mitigate potential impacts, including to amenity, landscape, the natural, built and historic environment, through minimising the area of land occupied at any one time by the mineral working.
Applications to vary planning conditions to amend progressive working and restoration schemes, including varying timescales which result in a delay to restoration, will only be acceptable where exceptional circumstances justify a change from the permitted schemes and/or the approved restoration date. Any amendment must not materially diminish the quality of the approved restoration scheme.
Restoration and consequent after-use of mineral extraction sites and associated development will be determined on a case-by-case basis. After-use proposals may include agriculture, forestry, ecology, reservoirs, amenity or flood alleviation.
Preference will be given to restoration that:
- Enhances Norfolk's biodiversity (focussing on priority habitats and species in Norfolk),
- contributes positively to identified strategic green infrastructure corridors and known ecological networks,
- creates high-quality, locally distinctive landscapes,
- enables access links to Public Rights of Way and national trails, where appropriate and
- Reinstates Best and Most Versatile agricultural land, where it occurs.
The restoration proposal must demonstrate that:
- The appropriate restoration and after-use is both feasible and achievable in the proposed time scales
- The scheme provides for a biodiversity net gain, primarily through the creation or enhancement of priority habitats and linkages to local ecological networks and green infrastructure corridors
- Opportunities have been taken to improve public access, where appropriate, particularly to implement the Norfolk Access Improvement Plan
- The restoration scheme and after-use has taken opportunities to incorporate trees, retain existing trees and incorporate additional features consistent with climate change mitigation and adaption wherever possible
- Any important geology or geomorphology on the site will be retained in sample exposures for study purposes where practical and safe to do so
- The scheme has been informed by the historic environment and historic landscape character assessments and the restoration enhances the historic environment.
MP8.1 Where the proposed restoration of a mineral extraction site is to an agriculture, forestry, amenity or ecology after-use, the outline aftercare strategy sets the general parameters of the proposed action required to bring the restored land up to the required standard for the intended after-use. For an arable agricultural after-use this can entail a particular pattern of cultivation over the five-year aftercare period. Where restoration proposals include the retention of a geological exposure for study, provision should be made in the aftercare strategy for either periodic cleaning of the face of the exposure, or cleaning prior to geological studies taking place.
MP8.2 During the five-year aftercare period annual reports are submitted for the approval of the Mineral Planning Authority following a site meeting to establish if any further action is required, such as the installation of land drainage etc.
MP8.3 Where the proposed after-use is not agriculture, aftercare strategies covering a period greater than five years may be required to ensure the successful establishment and maintenance of the approved after-use. The need for annual reports after the initial five-year period will be assessed on a case by case basis.
(2) Policy MP8: Aftercare
Where the proposed restoration following mineral extraction is to an agriculture, forestry, amenity or ecology after-use; or includes a geological exposure, an outline aftercare strategy for at least five years is required prior to the determination of the planning application. The outline strategy should set out the land management proposed to bring the restored land up to the required standard for the proposed after-use.
Planning conditions and/or longer-term planning obligations will be used to ensure that a detailed annual management report is provided. The annual management report must include any measures required, following the annual aftercare inspection, to achieve the outline aftercare strategy.
MP9. Asphalt plants, concrete batching plants and the manufacture of concrete products
MP9.1 Minerals can only be worked where they occur, which is normally within the open countryside. Ancillary development such as asphalt plants, concrete batching plants and the manufacture of concrete products (such as blockworks) would not normally be allowed in the open countryside in the absence of adjacent mineral workings and therefore should be removed once mineral extraction has ceased.
(1) Policy MP9: Asphalt plants, concrete batching plants and the manufacture of concrete products
Proposals for asphalt plants, concrete batching plants or the manufacture of concrete products at sand and gravel workings must stipulate the proportion of indigenous sand and gravel that will be used in the production of asphalt, ready mixed concrete and other concrete products.
At sand and gravel workings, planning permission will be limited to the end date of the quarry permission, or to when the indigenous material no longer forms the majority of the feedstock being used, whichever is the sooner.
Any proposals for asphalt plants, concrete batching plants or the manufacture of concrete products that are County matters must also comply with the development management criteria set out in Policy MW1.
MP10. Safeguarding of port and rail facilities, and facilities for the manufacture of concrete, asphalt and recycled materials – STRATEGIC POLICY
MP10.1 It is important to safeguard existing, planned or potential infrastructure for the storage, handling, processing and distribution of minerals from incompatible development which may prevent or prejudice the use of these facilities.
MP10.2 The safeguarding of minerals infrastructure is necessary to protect it from other forms of development which might either directly or indirectly impact upon these facilities. Therefore, applications for new development in proximity to existing safeguarded minerals infrastructure should take into account any potential conflicts. Local Planning Authorities are therefore requested to consult the Minerals Planning Authority if a proposed development is within the consultation area of a safeguarded facility.
MP10.3 Decisions on whether a proposed development would prevent or prejudice the continued use of a safeguarded facility and would therefore raise an objection from the Minerals Planning Authority (MPA), will be made on a case-by-case basis. Each decision will take into account the particular use of the safeguarded site, the nature of the proposed development, their compatibility and, where appropriate, any mitigation which could address any adverse impacts.
MP10.4 Proposals for non-mineral development within the consultation areas of safeguarded sites would need to provide appropriate mitigation, as an 'agent of change', so as to not prejudice the continued operations of the mineral facility. This information should be set out at the planning application stage in a Minerals Infrastructure Impact Assessment (MIIA), as detailed in Appendix 9. The MIIA should be undertaken at such a time that it can shape and inform the early stages of a Master Plan or planning application. The scope and level of detail of an MIIA will be influenced by the specific characteristics of the site's location, the nature of the development being applied for and the nature of the safeguarded mineral infrastructure.
MP10.5 The Policies Map will indicate the location of all known safeguarded facilities. Railheads and wharfs handling minerals are listed in Appendix 5. For clarity and consistency, Norfolk's Local Planning Authorities should identify safeguarded minerals facilities on their own Policies Map for their relevant administrative area.
(6) Policy MP10: safeguarding of port and rail facilities, and facilities for the manufacture of concrete, asphalt and recycled materials – STRATEGIC POLICY
The County Council will safeguard:
- Existing, planned and potential rail heads, rail links to quarries, wharfage and associated storage, handing and processing facilities for the bulk transport by rail, sea or inland waterways of minerals, including recycled, secondary and marine-dredged materials; and
- Existing, planned and potential sites for concrete batching, the manufacture of coated materials, other concrete products and the handling, processing and distribution of substitute, recycled and secondary aggregate material.
Development proposals within 250 metres of the above minerals related facilities should demonstrate that they would not prevent or prejudice the use of those facilities, through the submission of a Minerals Infrastructure Impact Assessment, as set out in Appendix 9. The 'agent of change' principle will be applied to all such development.
The Mineral Planning Authority should be consulted on all development proposals within Mineral Consultation Areas, except for the excluded development types set out in Appendix 4.
The County Council will oppose development proposals which would prevent or prejudice the use of safeguarded sites for those purposes unless suitable alternative provision is made, or the applicant demonstrates that those sites no longer meet the needs of the aggregates industry.
MP11. Mineral Safeguarding Areas and Mineral Consultation Areas -STRATEGIC POLICY
MP11.1 The NPPF (paragraph 210) states that in preparing local plans, local authorities should: "safeguard mineral resources by defining Mineral Safeguarding Areas; and adopt appropriate policies so that known locations of specific mineral resources of local and national importance are not sterilised by non-mineral development where this should be avoided (whilst not creating a presumption that resources defined will be worked)". National Planning Practice Guidance states that Mineral Planning Authorities should also define Mineral Consultation Areas.
MP11.2 Minerals are a finite natural resource and can only be worked where they exist. The safeguarding of mineral extraction sites has a number of benefits, both in terms of protecting sources for construction purposes and maintaining a supply of building stone for conservation purposes. Norfolk County Council will therefore safeguard existing, permitted and allocated mineral extraction sites from incompatible development proposals.
MP11.3 The purpose of safeguarding existing and proposed sites is not necessarily to prevent other forms of development from taking place in proximity to those sites, but to ensure that issues of compatibility across the differing forms of development are taken into account in the planning process.
MP11.4 Therefore, applications for new development in proximity to existing safeguarded mineral extraction sites should take into account any potential conflicts. Local Planning Authorities are requested to consult the Mineral Planning Authority if a proposed development is within the consultation area of a safeguarded site. The Mineral Consultation Area will extend 250 metres around each safeguarded mineral extraction site. The safeguarded sites will be identified on the Policies Map and are listed in Appendix 6.
MP11.5 Decisions on whether a proposed development would prevent or prejudice the continued use of a safeguarded site and would therefore raise an objection from the Mineral Planning Authority, will be made on a case-by-case basis. Each decision would take into account the particular use of the safeguarded site, the nature of the proposed development, their compatibility and, where appropriate, any mitigation which could address any adverse impacts.
MP11.6 Norfolk County Council has also defined Mineral Safeguarding Areas (MSAs) and Mineral Consultation Areas (MCAs) to safeguard specific mineral resources. The primary evidence base for defining mineral resources as Mineral Safeguarding Areas is the Norfolk Mineral Resources Map 2004, produced by the British Geological Survey (BGS), as amended by the BGS DiGmapGB-50 dataset. Deposits of aggregates (sand and gravel) are widely distributed across Norfolk and there are very considerable resources. The area covered by the MSA includes only those deposits which are most likely to be commercially viable; this will normally be those deposits with the highest proportion of gravel.
MP11.7 The table overleaf shows the superficial geology types which have been included within the indicative sand and gravel Mineral Safeguarding Areas. There are two main types of geology; bedrock and superficial. In Norfolk, chalk is the main bedrock material, along with younger crag (sand and gravel) and other sedimentary deposits in some areas. The superficial geology is made up of more recent deposits generally of a sedimentary nature from either ancient river system or as a result of glacial activity, during the Quaternary Period (the most recent geological period).
Superficial geology types within the sand and gravel mineral resource
BGS superficial geology classifications in Norfolk
Included in sand and gravel Mineral Safeguarding Area
clay and silt
clay, silt and sand
clay, silt, sand and gravel
gravel, sand and silt
gravel, sand, silt and clay
sand and gravel
sand and silt
sand with clay and gravel
sand, silt and clay
MP11.8 In addition to the sand and gravel resource, silica sand and carstone resources will also be safeguarded. Silica sand is scarce both nationally and in Norfolk and it is defined as an important resource in the NPPF, therefore it is appropriate for the entire resource to be safeguarded as part of the MSA. Carstone is also a scare resource in Norfolk and therefore it is appropriate for the entire carstone resource to be safeguarded as part of the MSA. The Mineral Safeguarding Areas will be identified on the Policies Map.
MP11.9 Demand for chalk and clay is relatively low in comparison to the extent of the resource in Norfolk and therefore it is not considered necessary to safeguard these deposits. The National Planning Policy Framework states that planning permission must not be granted for peat extraction from new or extended sites and therefore the peat deposit will not be safeguarded as a mineral resource.
MP11.10 For safeguarding mineral resources, the Mineral Planning Authority has determined that the Mineral Consultation Area (MCA) is the same defined area as the Mineral Safeguarding Area (MSA). Local Planning Authorities are required to consult the County Planning Authority on applications for any form of development received within the MCA/MSA, which are likely to affect or be affected by mineral working and meet the criteria outlined in Appendix 4.
MP11.11 The inclusion of land in a MSA/MCA does not necessarily mean that planning permission would be granted for mineral extraction and there may be sound planning reasons why proposals would be rejected. Designation of these areas is intended to ensure that mineral interests are taken into account at the appropriate time. For example, circumstances may arise where it is appropriate to undertaken mineral extraction in advance of development. The NPPF states that planning authorities should "encourage the prior extraction of minerals, where practicable and environmentally feasible, if it is necessary for non-mineral development to take place".
(5) Policy MP11: Mineral Safeguarding Areas and Mineral Consultation Areas – STRATEGIC POLICY
The County Council will safeguard existing, permitted and allocated mineral extraction sites from inappropriate development proposals. Mineral Consultation Areas are delineated on the Policies Map and extend to 250 metres from each safeguarded site. Development proposals within 250 metres of a safeguarded site should demonstrate that they would not prevent or prejudice the use of the safeguarded site for mineral extraction and the 'agent of change' principle will be applied in all such cases. The County Council will object to development proposals which would prevent or prejudice the use of safeguarded sites for mineral extraction.
The County Council will safeguard Norfolk's silica sand, carstone, and sand and gravel mineral resources, within the Mineral Safeguarding Areas identified on the Policies Map, from inappropriate development proposals. For mineral resources the Mineral Consultation Area is the same defined area as the Mineral Safeguarding Area.
The Mineral Planning Authority should be consulted on all development proposals within Mineral Consultation Areas, except for the excluded development types set out in Appendix 4.
For relevant development proposals located within a Mineral Safeguarding Area the Mineral Planning Authority will expect to see appropriate investigations carried out to assess whether any mineral resource there is of economic value, and if so, whether the mineral could be economically extracted prior to the development taking place. This information should be provided through the submission of a Mineral Resource Assessment, as set out in Appendix 10.
The conservation benefits of carstone will be a consideration in safeguarding resources.
In line with the NPPF, the Mineral Planning Authority will object to development which would lead to the sterilisation of the mineral resource, and it would be for the relevant Local Planning Authority to decide whether there are compelling planning reasons for over-riding this safeguarding objection.