Policy MP5: Core River Valleys

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Object

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 94372

Received: 21/10/2019

Respondent: Campaigners Against Two Silica Sites

Representation:

MP5 - There needs to be a specific time scale added to this statement as to destroy biodiversity for profit under the guise of enhancing it later (20-30+ years hence) through restoration is an illogical step and unacceptable. Also, the M&WLP at section MP5 on page 76 describes Core River Valleys in Norfolk as '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. 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. Although not formally designated, safeguarding the Core River Valleys will help preserve the unique and rich quality of Norfolk's landscape and natural heritage'. With ref to AOS E, including the overlap area that includes a part of SIL 02, with a water bodies already at Pentney and at the Middleton aggregate works just to the north of the river Nar SSSI, then the addition of a much larger water body (e.g.such as the aftermath of SIL 02 as described by Sibelco previously) so close would be exactly what this paragraph explicitly says we shouldn't be doing. Therefore, to continue to include AOS E and its overlap with SIL 02 in the M&WLP would be a flawed decision by NCC. For AOS E and the overlap of SIL 02 that it includes, MP5 fails sustainability objective SA5 on pg 9 of the Sustainability Appraisal Report - Part A- Scoping (Oct 2015) for the amount of time it is a visual intrusion; fails SA8 because of the excessive time-scale involved and the after use proposed; and SA9 due to the time-scale involved.

Full text:

MP5 - There needs to be a specific time scale added to this statement as to destroy biodiversity for profit under the guise of enhancing it later (20-30+ years hence) through restoration is an illogical step and unacceptable. Also, the M&WLP at section MP5 on page 76 describes Core River Valleys in Norfolk as '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. 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. Although not formally designated, safeguarding the Core River Valleys will help preserve the unique and rich quality of Norfolk's landscape and natural heritage'. With ref to AOS E, including the overlap area that includes a part of SIL 02, with a water bodies already at Pentney and at the Middleton aggregate works just to the north of the river Nar SSSI, then the addition of a much larger water body (e.g.such as the aftermath of SIL 02 as described by Sibelco previously) so close would be exactly what this paragraph explicitly says we shouldn't be doing. Therefore, to continue to include AOS E and its overlap with SIL 02 in the M&WLP would be a flawed decision by NCC. For AOS E and the overlap of SIL 02 that it includes, MP5 fails sustainability objective SA5 on pg 9 of the Sustainability Appraisal Report - Part A- Scoping (Oct 2015) for the amount of time it is a visual intrusion; fails SA8 because of the excessive time-scale involved and the after use proposed; and SA9 due to the time-scale involved.

Object

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 94707

Received: 27/10/2019

Respondent: Mrs LDT Gallagher

Representation:

There needs to be a specific time scale added to this statement as to destroy biodiversity for profit under the guise of enhancing it later (20-30+ years hence) through restoration is an illogical step and unacceptable. Also the M&WLP at section MP5 on page 76 describes Core River Valleys in Norfolk as '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. 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. Although not formally designated, safeguarding the Core River Valleys will help preserve the unique and rich quality of Norfolk's landscape and natural heritage'. With ref to AOS E, including the overlap area that includes a part of SIL 02, with a water bodies already at Pentney and at the Middleton aggregate works just to the north of the river Nar SSSI, then the addition of a much larger water body (e.g.such as the aftermath of SIL 02 as described by Sibelco previously) so close would be exactly what this paragraph explicitly says we shouldn't be doing

Full text:

There needs to be a specific time scale added to this statement as to destroy biodiversity for profit under the guise of enhancing it later (20-30+ years hence) through restoration is an illogical step and unacceptable. Also the M&WLP at section MP5 on page 76 describes Core River Valleys in Norfolk as '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. 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. Although not formally designated, safeguarding the Core River Valleys will help preserve the unique and rich quality of Norfolk's landscape and natural heritage'. With ref to AOS E, including the overlap area that includes a part of SIL 02, with a water bodies already at Pentney and at the Middleton aggregate works just to the north of the river Nar SSSI, then the addition of a much larger water body (e.g.such as the aftermath of SIL 02 as described by Sibelco previously) so close would be exactly what this paragraph explicitly says we shouldn't be doing

Object

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 94924

Received: 29/10/2019

Respondent: Mr JJ Gallagher

Representation:

MP5 - This policy is unsound without the addition of an acceptable timescale. It is too open-ended and could allow for quarrying for several generations before any 'enhancement' occurs; that is unacceptable. Also, the M&WLP at section MP5 on page 76 describes Core River Valleys in Norfolk as '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. Sand and gravel resources are commonly found in river valleys and many of Norfolk's river valleys have 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. Although not formally designated, safeguarding the Core River Valleys will help preserve the unique and rich quality of Norfolk's landscape and natural heritage'. With ref to AOS E, including the overlap area that includes a part of SIL 02, with a water bodies already at Pentney and at the Middleton aggregate works just to the north of the river Nar SSSI, then the addition of a much larger water body (e.g.such as the aftermath of SIL 02 as described by Sibelco previously) so close would be exactly what this paragraph explicitly says we shouldn't be doing.

Full text:

MP5 - This policy is unsound without the addition of an acceptable timescale. It is too open-ended and could allow for quarrying for several generations before any 'enhancement' occurs; that is unacceptable. Also, the M&WLP at section MP5 on page 76 describes Core River Valleys in Norfolk as '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. Sand and gravel resources are commonly found in river valleys and many of Norfolk's river valleys have 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. Although not formally designated, safeguarding the Core River Valleys will help preserve the unique and rich quality of Norfolk's landscape and natural heritage'. With ref to AOS E, including the overlap area that includes a part of SIL 02, with a water bodies already at Pentney and at the Middleton aggregate works just to the north of the river Nar SSSI, then the addition of a much larger water body (e.g.such as the aftermath of SIL 02 as described by Sibelco previously) so close would be exactly what this paragraph explicitly says we shouldn't be doing.

Support

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 98668

Received: 30/10/2019

Respondent: Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Representation:

We support the approach taken by this policy to safeguard these important key corridors for wildlife through the county, in particular through the requirement for development in these areas to demonstrate that it will enhance the biodiversity of the river valley either immediately or on restoration.

Full text:

Norfolk Minerals & Waste Local Plan Review 2019

Policies
Vision
* We support the progressive restoration schemes and enhancement of Norfolk's biodiversity. Where the third paragraph makes reference to the enhancement of Norfolk's biodiversity, we recommend this is expanded to incorporate the upcoming mandatory requirement for biodiversity net gain, as set out in the Environment Bill and supported by the NPPF.
* Recognising the negative impacts a changing climate will have on the future for wildlife in Norfolk, we recommend that the Vision's target for minimising the impact of minerals development and waste management on climate change is made more ambitious, by changing it to at least a target of net zero or net positive where possible. Opportunities exist for gains for both wildlife and carbon sequestration through appropriate habitat restoration and creation as part of proposals, as already noted in Minerals Strategic Objective MS08.

MW2 - Development Management Criteria
* We support the policy requirement to ensure that development will not have a damaging effect on the natural environment, in particular for locally designated sites (I.e. the County Wildlife Site network).
* However, the aim of the policy appears to focus on a no net loss principle, with enhancements only being sought 'where appropriate'. We recommend that in order to conform with the NPPF, the policy makes reference to the requirement for biodiversity net gain. Reference can also be made to the recent publications by DEFRA on its implementation.

MW4 - Climate change adaptation and mitigation
We support the inclusion of targets for emissions minimisation and renewable energy provision. Given the overlap between new habitat creation, the upcoming mandatory provision of biodiversity net gain and carbon sequestration, we recommend that the policy and supporting text is expanded to note the role habitat creation and restoration can provide in climate change mitigation.

MP2 - Spatial strategy for minerals extraction
We recommend that in addition to the existing defining areas of search, that County Wildlife Sites are also excluded from the Areas of Search for silica sand extraction. We are concerned at the overlap between some proposed minerals sites and the County Wildlife Site network and we do not believe that allocating minerals extraction on CWSs is compatible with the plan's Vision to enhance Norfolk's biodiversity.

MP5 - Core river valleys
We support the approach taken by this policy to safeguard these important key corridors for wildlife through the county, in particular through the requirement for development in these areas to demonstrate that it will enhance the biodiversity of the river valley either immediately or on restoration.

MP7 - Progressive working, restoration and after-use
* Notwithstanding any site specific concerns regarding loss of wildlife sites or indirect impacts (e.g. dust and hydrology), we strongly support the restoration of mineral sites to priority habitats. Such measures offer a rare opportunity to create new habitats that can help Norfolk's wildlife recover from the significant and ongoing declines which it faces.
* Restoration plans should be included at the planning application stage to ensure that the strategic contribution of the site to landscape scale conservation and delivery of biodiversity net gain can be considered.
* Wherever possible, 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.

MP8 - Aftercare
We support the aftercare of restored mineral sites in order to ensure that their target habitats are achieved. We strongly support the requirement for longer aftercare provision to ensure successful establishment and maintenance of the approved after-use. As habitat creation/ restoration offers the opportunity to also provide carbon sequestration and contribute to climate change mitigation targets, their establishment may also require longer aftercare periods to demonstrate successful delivery.

Minerals Site Allocations

Silica Sand

MIN40
* We note the potential dewatering risk to East Winch Common SSSI and CWS 140 East Winch Common. This site should only be included in the plan if the Council is confident that such issues can be dealt with satisfactorily through hydrological studies at planning permission, in order to avoid risks to delivery of the plan.
* We therefore support the recommendation that any permission will require a detailed hydrological assessment to determine the safe extent of working that can occur without risking impacts on nearby SSSIs and CWSs.
* We recommend that the restoration proposals include heathland due to the proximity to heathland habitats on East Winch Common, as this will provide ecological connectivity and allow for more movement of wildlife through the landscape.
* The site also has the potential to provide new green infrastructure for the adjoining settlement through provision of wildlife rich public open space as part of restoration proposals.

SIL01 (land at Mintlyn South Bawsey)
* During the previous consultation phase we highlighted that part of the proposed allocation overlaps with CWS 416 '70 & 100 Plantations' and recommended that these areas are safeguarded. The supporting text correctly identifies potential adverse impacts to this CWS and the adjacent CWS 418 Haverlesse Manor Plantation, but makes no attempt to safeguard these. The most appropriate way to ensure that impacts to the CWS are avoided is to exclude it from the minerals allocation, therefore we strongly recommend that CWS 416 is completely excluded from the proposed allocation. In addition, in order to safeguard from any indirect impacts to CWS from impacts such as dust, any allocation would need to include a non-worked buffer between it and both CWS.
* We support the recommendations in the policy text for noise, dust, air quality and hydrology assessments which will help inform ecological assessments of potential impacts on nearby wildlife sites. We recommend that any restoration plan ensures that the existing ecological connectivity between the adjacent wildlife sites is maintained through progressive working and that restoration post-extraction complements the adjoining habitats.
* We also note in the supporting text that the land use of the proposed allocation is classed as non-agricultural land, however we understand that this is likely to be incorrect as the southern part of the site has been in regular use as grazed grassland for at least twenty years. This area is likely to be of ecological significance, with anecdotal records of several protected species present as well as a number of mature oak trees on the southern boundary. In the absence of further information on the ecological value of this area and the potential impacts on a range of protected species (and any consequent impacts on delivery) as a precaution we recommend that this part of the site is removed from the allocation.

AoS E
* We are concerned at the large scale of this AoS and its proximity to multiple CWS. Any application within the AoS would need to be accompanied by a detailed ecological appraisal and hydrological assessment where appropriate.
* Mow Fen CWS is within the AoS and not suitable for minerals extraction, therefore we strongly recommend its removal from AoS and the provision of a buffer around it to avoid impacts such as dust.
* The AoS lies adjacent to CWS 373, species-rich grassland which will need buffering from the AoS.

AoS F
* We note the proximity of the northern area of the AoS to CWS 365, Broad Meadow Plantation. We strongly recommend a stand-off or buffer between any proposal in the AoS and the CWS in order to safeguard from indirect impacts.
* Proposals in proximity to any CWS would need to be accompanied by dust and hydrology assessments.
* We note from the maps provided that there appear to be a high number of ponds within the AoS and in the wider landscape. The potential for impacts on protected species and the likely requirements for ecological restoration will need to be considered as part of any application in this AoS.

AoS J
Due to the proximity to wildlife sites, we support the requirement for ecology and hydrology assessments as part of any application within this AoS.

SIL02 - land at Shouldham and Marham (silica sand)
Due to the unknown potential scale of minerals development that this Area of Search would support and the number of CWS in close proximity in particular Marham Fen CWS, we are concerned at the potential for significant impacts on wildlife and therefore support the Council's recommendation that this site is not progressed in the plan.

Carstone

MIN6 - Land off East Winch Road, Mill Drove, Middleton
We support the working of this site dry to avoid hydrology impacts, and the proposed restoration of this site to heathland habitat.

Breckland

MIN51&MIN13
We support the creation of new wet woodland habitat around retained wetland areas, as well as new hedgerows and oak standards alongside the northern boundary.

MIN200
We support the restoration proposals for this site.

MIN 102
We support the exclusion of this site from further consideration in the plan due to the adverse impacts likely on the adjacent Swangey Fen SSSI, a component of the Norfolk Valley Fens SAC.

Broadland

MIN202
* We previously raised concerns that this allocation overlaps with CWS 1344 'Triumph and Foxburrow Plantations' and repeat our recommendation that, in order to safeguard the CWS, the allocation boundary should be modified, with a stand-off area between any mineral working and wildlife sites (the CWS and ancient woodland at Mileplain Plantation) in order to mitigate for any indirect impacts such as dust.
* We support the restoration to a mosaic of acid grassland, woodland and wetland [check policy text] and recommend that the potential for heathland to be added.

MIN37 & MIN64
We hold no specific information on the proposed sites MIN 37 and MIN 64, but note their proximity to two County Wildlife Sites and strongly recommend that any restoration proposals for these sites, if allocated, are targeted to match wherever possible the habitats present in the nearby CWS in order to maximize ecological connectivity.

MIN96
We note the proximity to CWS 2205, Spixworth Bridge Meadows, and CWS 1396, Spixworth Meadows, and support the requirement for this site to only be worked dry in order to avoid any potential impacts on the CWSs through changes in local hydrology. We also support the requirement for a dust assessment.


MIN213
* We note that this allocation is adjacent to CWS 2204, Hevingham Park, a replanted ancient woodland with pingos and rich ground flora in places, as well as an additional area of ancient woodland outside the CWS. These habitats will be vulnerable to typical impacts from minerals operations and any application will need to be supported by a dust assessment, with appropriate mitigation including vegetative screening for the extraction period.
* The policy text indicates that the site would be worked wet. We support the policy requirement for a hydrogeological assessment to be provided as part of any application, and note this should also cover impacts on the ecology of adjacent wildlife sites. In addition, we also recommend that the Council will need to be sure that the site can be worked wet without leading to adverse impacts on adjacent wildlife sites (after mitigation) in order to ensure that it is deliverable.
* We support the restoration proposals to heathland where opportunities around the existing holiday park consent allow.
* We have been made aware of the likely presence of great crested newts on the site. In addition, given the extensive woodland on site, the presence of other protected species such as bats are also likely. As a result we would expect any application to be accompanied by a detailed ecological appraisal. Should such populations be present, then any progressive working programme is likely to require retention of sufficient areas of habitat at any one time to allow for their retention.
* Given the proximity of pingos to the north, the potential for this site to include pingos should also be investigated.

MIN48
Due to the proximity to Swannington Upgate Common SSSI and likely impacts, we support the removal of this from the plan.

Great Yarmouth

MIN38 - land at Waveney Forest, Fritton
We support the exclusion of this site from further consideration in the plan due to the likely impacts on the Waveney Forest and Fritton Warren South County Wildlife Sites (CWS), in particular the remnant heathland elements of the Forest and the adjoining wetland habitats at Fritton Warren. Should the Council proceed with this site in the plan, then we would expect further evidence on ecology and hydrology to demonstrate that it is deliverable whilst avoiding impacts on the adjacent CWSs. Given the potential for the areas adjacent to the CWSs to support protected species and be of similar ecological value, any application would need to be accompanied by detailed ecological and hydrological appraisals, including restoration plans that complement the adjacent wildlife sites.

King's Lynn & West Norfolk

MIN 206 - land at Oak Field, west of Lynn Road, Tottenhill
We support the requirements for hydrological assessment in the supporting text as part of any ecological appraisal accompanying an application for this site, and recommend that this is also included in the policy text for clarity.

MIN 45
We support the exclusion of this site from further consideration in the plan due to its location on ancient woodland, defined as an irreplaceable habitat in the NPPF.

MIN19&205
We support the exclusion of these sites from further consideration in the plan due to the proximity to the River Nar SSSI.

MIN74
We support the exclusion of this site from further consideration in the plan due to the adverse impacts predicted on wildlife sites.

MIN77
We support the exclusion of this site from further consideration in the plan due to the adverse impacts predicted on wildlife sites.

North Norfolk

MIN69 - north of Holt Road, Aylmerton
Whilst we are unable to comment on the wider impacts of this proposal as they are outside of our remit, should this site be progressed, then we strongly support the Council's recommendations that this site should only be worked dry in order to avoid hydrological impacts on the nearby Norfolk Valley Fens SAC and be subject to high quality restoration and formal aftercare, creating a large new area of heathland with benefits both for wildlife and green infrastructure provision. We support the precautionary requirement for noise and dust assessments as part of any application in order to evaluate potential impacts on nearby wildlife sites and the requirement to demonstrate that adverse effects on the Norfolk Valley Fens SAC would be avoided.

MIN115 - land at Lord Anson's Wood, near North Walsham
Due to the proximity of two SSSIs and Weaver's Way County Wildlife Site (CWS) which include wetland habitats, the site should only be worked dry in order to avoid any impacts. We support the requirement for dust assessments and identification of appropriate mitigation measures to ensure that nearby CWSs are not impacted by this allocation. We support the proposed restoration to woodland and heathland and recommend that restoration proposals are secured as part of any application.

MIN207 - land at Pinkney Field, Briston
We note the proposed restoration to reservoir and agricultural grassland which we understand is linked to existing adjacent planning consents. However, we recommend that any allocation should demonstrate it can deliver biodiversity net gain in its own right and should include sufficient areas of priority habitats as set out in policy MP7 (see supporting text MP7.5, for example woodland and heathland) to ensure this can be delivered in addition to compensating for displaced features from existing consents.

MIN208 - land south of Holt Road, East Beckham
We support the proposed restoration of the site to a mosaic of native woodland, scrub and acid grassland.

MIN71- land west of Norwich Road, Holt
We agree with the Council's evaluation that this site is unsuitable for allocation due to the likely impacts to Holt Lowes SSSI, a component of the Norfolk Valley Fens SAC, as well as to the multiple County Wildlife Sites in close proximity. In the absence of a detailed hydrological assessment it is not clear that this site can be worked without an adverse effect on the SAC, therefore there is a risk that the site would not be deliverable if retained in the plan.

South Norfolk

MIN209
We support the proposed restoration scheme for this site.

MIN210
We support the proposed restoration scheme for this site.

MIN211
* We support the requirement for dust assessment and mitigation proposals as part of any application given the proximity to CWSs and ancient woodland.
* We support the proposed restoration scheme for this site.

MIN25
* We support the requirement for dust and hydrology assessments and mitigation proposals as part of any application given the proximity to CWSs.
* We support the proposed restoration scheme for this site.

MIN212
We support the proposed restoration scheme for this site.

MIN92
We support the exclusion of this site from further consideration in the plan due to the adverse impacts predicted on wildlife sites.

Comment

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 98713

Received: 30/10/2019

Respondent: Environment Agency

Representation:

This policy should also include "the impact of mineral development on groundwater and the potential to need to work beneath the water table".
Any proposal for quarrying activity within a core river valley should not be approved unless the applicant can demonstrate no adverse effect on the WFD status of the river water body, or its tributaries. A Full WFD assessment (as outlined above) will be required for any proposal for this activity to be carried out within a floodplain.

Full text:

Preferred Options Plan
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Preferred Options stage of the Norfolk Minerals and Waste Local Plan. We have commented on the policies and allocated sites in the same format as the Local Plan itself below.

The Process so far
We are pleased to see water resources are mentioned in this section. However, this section could be strengthened by making reference to whether working beneath the water table is required and whether dewatering is required. This could potentially pose a challenge to sites moving forward so it should have a stronger mention in this section.

Policy MW2: Development Management Criteria
We are pleased to see that point k in this policy makes reference to the natural and geological environment. This point could be enhanced by also making reference to the hydrogeological environment including maintaining groundwater dependent wetlands, surface water flows, groundwater quantity and flow regime.

The policy makes no reference to local air quality regarding waste developments, be it from gas utilisation units or fugitive emissions from landfilled areas and their perimeter. This is especially key where development is close to sensitive receptors or such receptors are developed close to the sites.

We welcome the inclusion of point D in the policy. This could be enhanced to state
"flood risk TO THOSE WORKING on site or an increase in flood risk elsewhere" (addition in CAPITALS ). The policy could also be improved by requiring a Flood Response Plan to manage the safety of the people on site.

Pollution and Local Amenity Impacts
We agree with the inclusion of paragraph 8.12 that lighting levels should be assessed with consideration given to the impact lighting will have on European Protected species. Mitigation could include limiting the operational hours of the site and using down lighting.

We fully support the protection of Local Wildlife sites (county wildlife sites, local nature reserves and local wildlife sites) highlighted in paragraph 8.20 as well as priority habitats and species. We agree that any proposal should only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that the activities will not significantly harm the site, and will require submission of appropriate ecological surveys, carried out by an appropriately qualified ecologist, at the correct time of year as described in paragraph 8.21. We recommend the rewording of the final sentence of paragraph 8.20 to state "Development that may affect Water Framework Directive waterbodies e.g. rivers, streams, lakes will require a WFD compliance assessment".

Water Framework Directive
The plan should make reference to the fact that any development that could impact the status of a water body, whether WFD or not, should be subject to a WFD assessment.

Flooding, Water resources and water quality
We agree with the reference this section makes to flood risk betterment after restoration, reducing flood risk elsewhere and acknowledgement that climate change needs to be considered. However this section does not refer to ensuring there is no increase in flood risk elsewhere through the duration of the works. In addition there is no mention of the flood risk to people on site and the need for management to ensure their safety with a Flood Response Plan. The plan should therefore be updated to this effect.


It is encouraging to see that paragraph 8.40 makes it clear that dewatering for mineral abstraction purposes requires a water abstraction licence from the Environment Agency. However, it should be noted that an abstraction licence for dewatering may not be granted and it is likely that any de-watering water will need to be returned to the aquifer close to where it is abstracted and in a timely manner after the abstraction takes place. Our current Catchment Area Management Strategy (CAMS) policy for issuing abstraction licences intervening use of this water for activities such as mineral washing and dust suppression which have a consumptive element will not be permitted, this be a challenge for sites going forward if alternative sources of water for associated activities such as mineral washing and dust suppression cannot be found.

Paragraph 8.40 refers to the Water Framework directive. A WFD assessment is a good addition and we welcome the suggestion to protect the designated drinking water source protection zones. We also support the use of pollution prevention measures, to prevent pollution of surface and groundwater. This paragraph should also state that the assessment should determine if there could be a deterioration in WFD status. Activities should not allow any deterioration in any of the WFD elements. Minerals and waste management developments should not cause deterioration or prevent a water body from achieving Good Ecological Status/Potential, and whenever possible, help to implement environmental improvement measures to improve waterbodies.

Policy MW4: Climate Change mitigation and adaptation
Paragraph 10.2 states the need to minimise demands on potable water resources. The sentence should continue by saying 'and water resources in general'. As stated above, we are not issuing new consumptive abstraction licences.

A possible linkage could be made between point's b and c - on site renewable energy (both electricity and hot water) could well be provided from captured landfill gas emissions. Any excess energy could then be fed into the local networks.
It would be beneficial to update the wording of point 3 to state "...including rising sea levels, LARGER RIVER FLOWS, and coastal erosion..." (addition in CAPITALS).

Waste Management Specific Policies
In terms of paragraph W0.3, you should ensure that you plan for sites that will 'Prepare for Re-use' as it has been stated that greater weight is being put to the management methodology at the top of the waste hierarchy.

W1.12
The plan states "The latest Defra estimate of C&I waste growth for England is 0.6% per annum, therefore an alternative option would be to forecast C&I waste growth over the Plan period at 0.6% per annum instead of 1.5% per annum. However, it is considered that it is more appropriate to use the Norfolk specific figure of 12.5% per annum". We are unsure where and how this figure of 12.5% has been calculated and why it is so different to DEFRA's estimate. Sustainable economic growth will need enough commercial and industrial waste processing capacity to deal with this increase in waste generation.

Policy WP2: Spatial Strategy for Waste Management Facilities
We support the policy WP2 regarding the location of Water Recycling Centres. It should be noted that the decision, ultimately, remains with Anglian Water Services.

Policy WP3: Land potentially suitable for waste management facilities
This policy should state that waste management facilities (aggregate recycling) also need to consider consumptive water use and where this water will come from.

Policy WP6: Transfer, Storage, Processing and treatment of hazardous waste
It is highly likely that any proposals for the discharge of hazardous waste to surface water or groundwater will require a discharge permit, if allowed. The policy could be improved by saying that under no circumstances, should there be a discharge of treated hazardous waste/materiel to surface waters or groundwater without prior consultation with the EA.

Policy WP9: Anaerobic Digestion
The policy could be improved by making reference to Emergency Planning. Proposals for Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facilities should include a detailed emergency plan should there be an incident, such as a major leak or fire for example. AD leachate is extremely rich in nutrients, which if entering a watercourse, could cause significant environmental harm. We suggest the emergency pan includes nearby watercourses, overlying geology, depth to water table, detailed site drainage plan for example. If possible, an emergency plan should be provided for the Environment Agency to review.

W12: Non-hazardous and hazardous waste landfill
Along with section 5.35, we question whether allowing planning permission for Blackborough End to become an inert landfill and reducing the county's non-hazardous landfill waste capacity to just 1.53 million cubic metres is sufficient for residual waste disposal over the plan period. It is unclear from the Local Plan what the options for residual waste disposal will actually be, except reliance on Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) and its export. Bearing in mind NCC are keen for sustainable waste management, then the export of RDF by definition its potential energy, does not appear the best long term option. Although waste management options higher up the waste hierarchy are always preferable, there will always be waste streams that can only be disposed in landfill.

Policy WP13: Landfill Mining and Reclamation
Please note that such a proposal will require detailed input and agreement from the Environment Agency.

Policy WP15: Whitlingham Water Recycling Centre
We have previously provided comments stating that we welcomed that the WRC has a long term policy to ensure that further capacity is provided in line with growth. We continue to support long term plans being developed for Whittingham and other WRCs.
W15.2 mentions the sites location is close to the Broads and the associated 'landscape and flood risk concerns'. The location also means there are concerns for water quality due to the close proximity of sensitive protected sites of conservation importance. A statement to acknowledge that water quality needs to be protected should therefore be added to the plan here or in this policy.

Policy MP2: Spatial Strategy for mineral extraction
Point e makes reference to the hydrological catchment around Roydon Common SSSI and Dersingham Bog SSSI. It should be ensured that it is mentioned that it is the hydrological and hydrogeological catchment around Roydon Common and Dersingham bog which should be avoided.
We support the policy to provide a 250m buffer around ancient woodland and designated sites.

Policy MP5: Core River Valleys
This policy should also include "the impact of mineral development on groundwater and the potential to need to work beneath the water table".
Any proposal for quarrying activity within a core river valley should not be approved unless the applicant can demonstrate no adverse effect on the WFD status of the river water body, or its tributaries. A Full WFD assessment (as outlined above) will be required for any proposal for this activity to be carried out within a floodplain.

Policy MP7: Progressive working, restoration and after-use
We are fully supportive of supporting paragraph 7.3 which states there may be suitable ark sites to protect wild-clawed crayfish. Such sites need to be identified well in advance of de-commissioning to that the site can remain bio-secure.
The first bullet point in policy MP7 refers to BAP habitat. Please note that this has been superseded by Priority Habitat (S41 NERC Act, 2006).

Policy MP12: Conventional and unconventional oil and gas development
Unconventional oil and gas production requires a lot of water to be used so it is likely an abstraction licence will be required. In addition, much of this water ends up as wastewater so the appropriate storage, treatment and disposal methods will be required. Discharge to any surface waters or groundwater will likely require a discharge permit and an application will need to be submitted. Having said this, the local plan indicates it is highly unlikely there will be hydrocarbon exploration in Norfolk in the foreseeable future so these comments may not be necessary at this point in time.

Policy MP13: Areas of search for silica sand extraction
As stated in our previous response, policy MP13 needs to address the need for an FRA. An FRA is vital if any of the allocations are located in Flood Zones.
Site Allocations

MIN38: Land at Waveney Forest, Fritton
Following our previous comments, we are welcome the conclusions drawn in this document which state the allocation is unsuitable for allocation.

MIN200: Land West of Cuckoo Land, Carbrooke
The site allocation text mentions that the site will be worked dry above the water table several times. If this is the case then this would alleviate our concerns on impacts on Scoulton Mere SSSI. This however is not included within the policy on page 124 and must be included.

MIN40: Land East of Grandcourt Farm, East Winch
We have concerns regarding this site. In the existing site, permeant dewatering of Carstone is proposed in restoration which goes against our previously raised comments. We would recommend not allocating this site.
Any depth of extraction should be severely limited to minimise de-watering. This could impact of the amount of mineral which can be recovered. As this is a principal aquifer, any de-watering water would need to be returned to the aquifer from which it is taken. An appropriate hydrogeological impact assessment will be required and it may well be that de-watering is not considered suitable at this site, which could limit the amount of mineral that could be recovered.

MIN35: Land at Heath Road, Quidenham
Our comments that we gave to the 2018 consultation remain valid.We have no concerns as it is proposed to work above the water table. This may need to be a planning condition on any application submitted.

MIN102: Land at North Farm, Snetterton
This site is adjacent to Swangey Fen SSSI. We previously stated that we do not consider the site suitable for mineral extraction. We are therefore supportive of the conclusions drawn in this consultation document stating that it is considered unsuitable for allocation

MIN201: Land at North Farm, Snetterton
This site is adjacent to Swangey Fen SSSI. We previously stated that we do not consider the site suitable for mineral extraction. We are therefore supportive of the conclusions drawn in this consultation document stating that it is considered unsuitable for allocation.

MIN6: Land off East Winch Road, Middleton
We are pleased to see that the specific site allocation policy for MIN 6 states the need to work above the water table. However, a hydrogeological impact assessment (not impact assessment) would be required to establish the depth of working.

Min204: Land off Lodge Road, Feltwell
Our previous comments raised within the issues and options stage of the consultation remain valid.

MIN74: Land at Turf Field, Watlington Road, Tottenhill
We agree with the conclusion that this site is unsuitable to be carried forward. If the site were to be taken forward, we would want to see a suitable hydrogeological impact assessment.

MIN76: Land at West Field, Watlington Road, Tottebhill
We are already aware of the planning application that has been submitted in terms of this application and have no further comments to make.

MIN77: Land at Runns Wood, South of Whin Common, Tottenhill
We agree with the conclusion that this site is unsuitable to be carried forward. If the site were to be taken forward, we would want to see a suitable hydrogeological impact assessment.

MIN206: Land at Oak Field, west of Lynn Road, Tottenhill
We consider this site suitable for sands and gravel extraction. The need for a hydrogeological impact assessment must be included within a bullet point in the specific site allocation policy. It's likely that de-watering will be required here.

MIN32: Land west of Lime Kiln Road, West Dereham
We agree with the conclusion that the site is unsuitable to be carried forward. We would want to see a suitable hydrogeological impact assessment if the site was carried forward and, as it is sands and gravels overlying chalk bedrock, it is possible that de-watering would not be considered a suitable option.

Area of search for AOE E
Given previous issues we have had with silica sand extraction in the vicinity of this site, we would expect all extraction to be above the watertable. This is likely to limit the amount of resource that can be recovered. It should be noted that the silica sand is part of a principal aquifer.


SIL01, AOS F, AOS I and AOSJ
The starting position should be not to allow de-watering as outlined in our comments to site allocation MIN40.

Silica Sand search locations
If de-watering is not to occur at the silica sand search locations as mentioned in our response above, this can heavily impact on the amount of resource available.

We trust this advice is useful.

Comment

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 99040

Received: 30/10/2019

Respondent: Brett Group

Agent: Heaton Planning Ltd

Representation:

Paragraph MP5.4 identifies that the Core River Valleys are not formally designated for their landscape or biodiversity interest. Policy MP5 seeks protection to the Core River Valleys that is over and above the protection offered in the NPPF to sites of national landscape and biodiversity importance. There is also no weighting of the importance of mineral extraction against the potential for any impact (which could be mitigated/compensated). The policy should not preclude all development, but it is accepted it is appropriate to caveat with the requirement to assess any impact.

Full text:

NORFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL: MINERALS AND WASTE LOCAL PLAN - PREFERRED OPTIONS CONSULTATION 2019
Please find to follow representations submitted on behalf of the Brett Group (Bretts). Bretts have previously made representations to the initial Plan Review consultation in 2018 and have submitted a site - MIN 38 Land at Waveney Forest, Fritton - for consideration by the Minerals Planning Authority (MPA) as a suitable allocation for sand and gravel extraction.
NORFOLK MINERALS AND WASTE LOCAL PLAN REVIEW - PREFERRED OPTIONS DOCUMENT
The process so far
Section 3 sets out the methodology for site assessments - including landscape, ecology, highways etc.
What is not clear from the site assessment and sustainability appraisal methodology is the balance applied to the impacts alongside the economic and social benefits. The NPPF (paragraph 8) is clear that achieving sustainable development means that the planning system has three overarching objectives, economic, social and environmental, which are interdependent and need to be pursued in mutually supportive ways (so that opportunities can be taken to secure net gains across each of the different objectives). Para 32 of NPPF (2019) states:
Local plans and spatial development strategies should be informed throughout their preparation by a sustainability appraisal that meets the relevant legal requirements. This should demonstrate how the plan has addressed the relevant economic, social and environmental objectives (including opportunities for net gains). Significant adverse impacts on these objectives should be avoided and, where possible, alternative options which reduce or eliminate such impacts should be pursued. Where significant adverse impacts are unavoidable, suitable mitigation measures should be proposed (or, where this is not possible, compensatory measures should be considered).
Whilst there is individual scoring on each sustainability appraisal objective for every site put forward (contained within the Sustainability Appraisal), there does not appear to be a clear process for illustrating how a judgement has been reached on whether to allocate a site or not and how sites with similar scoring on certain objectives have been taken forward or discounted. The methodology does not clearly provide a balance of the impacts - a number of sites clearly have numerous environmental sensitivities but do not constitute an objection in their own right. There should be some consideration of the cumulative impact of such effects. In addition, the deliverability of sites and their location in proximity to markets should be given weight in the overall balance.
Norfolk's Spatial Portrait
Paragraph 5.29 identifies there are, 'particular clusters of sand and gravel workings near to King's Lynn, in the north of Breckland District and around Norwich'. Whilst the MWLP is not advocating a locational strategy per se, the location of sites is to a certain degree dictated by proximity to market given the limited access to major roads within the County. This should be reflected within the overall strategy and greater weighting given to the potential for new development and the need for mineral sites to be located in close proximity to those markets.
Paragraph 5.30 states that, 'sand and gravel production in Norfolk was 1.511 million tonnes in 2018. The 10-year rolling average of sand and gravel sales was 1.361 million tonnes in the period 2009-2018. The 3-year rolling average of sand and gravel sales was 1.58 million tonnes in the period 2016-2018. The permitted reserves for sand and gravel extraction sites in Norfolk were 13.31 million tonnes at the end of 2018.
Based on the 10-year sales average, the permitted reserve provides a sand and gravel landbank of over 9 years. The 'trend' over the last 3 years is for a higher level of sales than the 10 year average. Using these figures the landbank is reduced to 8.4 years. Whilst this exceeds the requirements of the NPPF for at least 7 years, the latest LAA (December 2018) is indicating that there were no planning applications or planning permissions for new sand and gravel extraction in 2017. This needs to be kept under careful review to ensure that replenishment rates do not affect long term supply of sand and gravel.
The Strategy - Vision and Objectives
Minerals and Waste Local Plan Vision to 2036:
1st para - Norfolk will continue to be self-sufficient in the production of sand & gravel, whilst making an important contribution to the national production of silica sand. A steady and adequate supply of minerals to support sustainable economic growth will be planned for through allocating sufficient sites and/or areas in the Plan to meet the forecast need for sand and gravel, carstone, and silica sand, as required by national planning policy
Whilst the MWLP is proposing the County to be 'self sufficient' in the production of sand and gravel, the location of sites to market is an important consideration. Sole reliance on sites within the County to meet demand does not take account of the spatial strategy (Policy MP2) which is advocating sites are located close to urban/growth areas.

3rd para - All mineral workings will be covered by progressive restoration schemes
This is not in accordance with para 205(e) of the NPPF (2019) which recommends restoration should be at the earliest opportunity. It is not always possible to put in place a progressive restoration scheme, we recommend the wording is amended to be in accordance with NPPF.

Minerals Strategic Objectives [proposed new text in CAPITALS]
The following wording changes are suggested to MS01 to accord with paragraph 207(a) of the NPPF. This would also bring objective MSO1 in line with MSO2 for industrial minerals. Reference to the importance of safeguarding mineral resources should be a separate objective.
MSO1. To provide a steady and adequate supply of aggregate minerals by identifying adequate mineral extraction sites/areas within Norfolk sufficient to meet the FUTURE DEMAND requirements FORECAST WITHIN [delete: of] the Local Aggregate Assessment [delete: and safeguarding existing infrastructure].
MSO4 - requiring the justification for the potential sterilisation of minerals from competing development interests is supported.
MSO7 - para 204(g) of the NPPF (2018) recognises that some noisy short term activities, which may otherwise be regarded as unacceptable, are unavoidable to facilitate minerals extraction. MSO7 should be reworded to conform with NPPF.
MSO7. To ensure potential impacts on the amenity of those people living in proximity to minerals development are effectively controlled, minimised and MITIGATED TO ACCEPTABLE LEVELS IN ACCORDANCE WITH ADOPTED STANDARDS.
MSO9 - a mineral operator cannot always guarantee a positive contribution to natural, built and historic environment, particularly when the operator does not own the land with the landowner seeking different aspirations. The objective should be to seek to positively contribute.
Development Management Criteria
Policy MW2 - Development Management Criteria
Policy MW2 is supported - the policy is in line with NPPF, in particular the final requirement on restoration recognising that environmental enhancements sought where appropriate. However, this is contrary to the earlier Vision and Objectives. The Vision and Objectives should be amended to seek conformity throughout the plan and with NPPF.

Policy MW4 - Climate Change
Whilst the principle of reducing the climate change impact of new development is accepted, Criteria C of Policy MW4 should be deleted as it is not reasonable and overly onerous on operators. It is not clear how this would even be measured let alone controlled/enforced.

Policy MW6 - Agricultural soils
Policy MW6 is supported. The final bullet point of Policy MW6 state, 'the benefit of restoring the land to another after-use can be shown to outweigh the loss of the agricultural use of the land.' This is supported and in accordance with NPPF. However, this approach needs to be reflected in strategic objective MSO9 which requires landscape and biodiversity improvements, this cannot always be the case, MSO9 should be amended to reflect Policy MW6.
Waste Management Specific Policies
Policy WP3 - Land uses potentially suitable for waste management facilities
Policy WP3 identifies that waste management facilities at existing mineral workings and landfill sites may be considered acceptable on a temporary basis with planning permission restricted to a cessation date for the mineral operation or landfill activities. We consider that greater flexibility should be provided within the Policy - there can be occasions when it is appropriate to retain a facility, for example recycling, that can benefit from the retention of infrastructure and continue to serve the markets established. This would support the overall strategic objective WSO1. We recommend Policy WP3 should provide greater flexibility and be amended accordingly.

Policy WP4 - Recycling or transfer of inert construction, demolition and excavation waste
As with Policy WP3, Policy WP4 seeks to restrict waste management operations to the life of the mineral operation. We do not consider that this is always necessary or appropriate and there may be opportunities for long term use of facilities to serve existing markets. It is recommended that Policy WP4 is less restrictive.
Notwithstanding the above, the second part of the policy, repeats the requirements of the first and it is not clear why it is necessary as it serves the same purpose.
[Delete: 'Applications to vary planning conditions to extend the time for recycling operations on mineral workings will only be acceptable where:
a) there are exceptional circumstances to justify why the timely restoration of the mineral workings set out in the extant planning permission could not be completed;
b) the recycling operation is ancillary to the primary land use of mineral extraction at the site; and
c) the recycling operation would cease no later than the cessation date of the planning permission for the mineral extraction operation.']

Policy WP11 - Disposal of inert waste by landfill
Policy WP11 is supported and could be extended by including the importation of inert waste where it is necessary for agricultural improvement as part of criterion (d).
Minerals Specific Policies
NCC (paragraph MP1.6) propose to use the last 20 years average of 1.868mtpa rather than the 10 year average of 1.361mtpa or 3 year trend of 1.58mtpa. The justification for this is to enable a sufficient quantity of sand and gravel resources to be available over the 20 year plan period and would take into account potential fluctuations in the economy. The Plan recognises a need to provide for an additional 20,313,300 tonnes of sand and gravel. This has reduced from 23,063,560 tonnes since the previous consultation in August 2018. Whilst this positive approach to securing a steady and adequate supply of aggregates is supported, careful consideration needs to be given to the replenishment rates of sand and gravel sites, their location as well as production capacity to meet the annual production requirement. It is not considered that the annual monitoring/LAA captures this adequately.

Policy MP1 - provision for minerals extraction
Policy MP1 is seeking to ensure sufficient sites are allocated to deliver at least 20,313,300 tonnes of sand and gravel. This is supported. However, there needs to be some flexibility built into the Plan to ensure that sites not allocated could be brought forward to maintain production capacity in the County to meet anticipated annual production requirements. The County benefits from having so many sites operating. However, the Council can not control the applications being brought forward by industry. If there is a delay in Planning Applications or operational constraints affect production at a number of sites, the ability to meet the annual production requirement is affected unless other sites can be brought forward. The 20,313,300 tonnes is a forecast of demand and should not be perceived as a ceiling. The MPA's approach to 'resist' non allocated sites could threaten any flexibility.
The second part of the policy should be amended to read [new text in CAPITALS],
Mineral extraction for sand and gravel outside of allocated sites will be [delete: resisted] SUPPORTED by the Mineral Planning Authority [delete: unless] WHERE the applicant can demonstrate:
a) There is an overriding justification and/or overriding benefit for the proposed extraction, INCLUDING MAINTAINING A CONTINUITY IN SUPPLY AND OVERALL PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY, and
b) The proposal is consistent with all other relevant policies set out in the Development Plan.

Policy MP2 Spatial strategy for minerals extraction
Paragraph MP2.5 identifies, 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'.
Policy MP2: Spatial Strategy for mineral extraction states:
'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 (detailed in the supporting text) and/or be well-related to one of Norfolk's urban areas or main towns via appropriate transport infrastructure'.
The MPA is not proposing to allocate any sites within the Great Yarmouth area. Within the listed settlement hierarchy Great Yarmouth is in the highest tier as an urban area (Paragraph MP2.6). The Council are advocating a 'self sufficiency' in overall sand and gravel supply for the County without giving due consideration to a spread of aggregate site allocations to ensure that the need can be met. The assumption that demand will be supplied from somewhere within the County does not meet the spatial strategy approach advocated in Policy MP2 to locate sites close to the anticipated demand - i.e major growth areas. We do not believe this secures a steady and adequate supply of sand and gravel to the Great Yarmouth area and the Council should be allocating additional reserves. These additional reserves could be secured through the allocation of land at MIN38 - Waveney Forest, Fritton.
Great Yarmouth is constrained by the presence of 'The Broads' National Park. Therefore, limited opportunities for sites to be located close to it. There is one major active sand and gravel site - Cemex's Norton Subcourse Quarry - in close proximity to Great Yarmouth (circa 15 miles). Planning permission was granted for an extension to this site in 2015 (C/7/2012/7017). At that time it was proposed to extract 2.3 million tonnes of sand and gravel at a rate of between 100,000 and 200,000 tpa - between 11 and 21 years of operational life. At a worst case operating at the lower rate of 100,000tpa, the site is likely to be exhausted during the Plan period unless other extensions are put forward (none of which appear to have been promoted to the Plan). Even this site has to use the A143 and pass through the National Park area. The other nearest sites appears to be the LP Group operating Kirby Cane Quarry (planning permission expires in 2025) and Burgh Castle. Land at Welcome Pit to the north of Burgh Castle has been promoted but has been considered unsuitable for allocation because the local road network is sub standard. Even if this site were considered suitable for allocation the reserve and annual tonnage are so small that they would not make a meaningful contribution to the landbank and year on year supply of aggregate to the local market.
The site at MIN38 - Waveney Forest, Fritton, could secure a long term solution to mineral supply in this location without having to move through the National Park boundary.

Policy MP5 - Core River Valleys
Paragraph MP5.4 identifies that the Core River Valleys are not formally designated for their landscape or biodiversity interest. Policy MP5 seeks protection to the Core River Valleys that is over and above the protection offered in the NPPF to sites of national landscape and biodiversity importance. There is also no weighting of the importance of mineral extraction against the potential for any impact (which could be mitigated/compensated). The policy should not preclude all development, but it is accepted it is appropriate to caveat with the requirement to assess any impact.
Policy MP9 - Concrete batching and asphalt plants
Policy MP9 limits the use to the life of the quarry, it is sometimes beneficial to retain the use of ancillary facilities after the mineral operation has been completed making full use of a developed access and transport links and facilitating an existing market. Retaining existing plant and facilities and importing mineral from satellite sites may actually have some local amenity benefits and limit potential impacts.
The second paragraph could be amended as follows [proposed new text in CAPITALS]:
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, UNLESS THERE ARE OTHER OVERRIDING REASONS/JUSTIFICATIONS FOR THE PLANT'S RETENTION.
PROMOTION OF MIN 38 - WAVENEY FOREST, FRITTON
In a response to Norfolk County Council's 'Call for Sites' a comprehensive submission was made on behalf of the Brett Group promoting land at Waveney Forest, Fritton. The submission included a detailed assessment of the potential environmental and amenity impacts that may arise from the development of a new sand and gravel quarry at Fritton.
The individual site assessment contained within the Draft Plan has concluded the site is considered to be unsuitable for allocation because:
* * The harm to the significance of Waveney Forest as an example of a WW2 training area could not be appropriately mitigated, as the significance relates to the area as a whole.
* * The site is located within the Broads; there are more acceptable alternative sites for sand and gravel extraction proposed in the Plan in accordance with paragraph 205 (a) of the NPPF and there are not exceptional circumstances for mineral extraction at this site in accordance with paragraph 172 of the NPPF.

In regard to the Historic Environment the assessment states,
Historic environment: The historic landscape character of the site is 18th to 20th Century plantation woodland. The site is within a wider historic landscape character of 20th century agriculture with enclosure, boundary loss and boundary loss with a relict element; pastoral farming, and agriculture with 18th to 19th century piecemeal enclosure. The wider historic landscape character also includes modern built up areas of linear settlements, small farm clusters, nucleated clusters and urban development; and drained reclaimed enclosed land (rectilinear enclosure from 19th to 20th century). The wider historic landscape character also includes drained enclosed rectilinear grazing marsh (17th to 20th century enclosure), a historic earthwork, leisure/recreation, informal parkland, sea defences, saltings, a reservoir and woodland (18th to 19th century plantation woodland, carr woodland and regenerated alder carr woodland).
The nearest Listed Building is the Grade II* Drainage Pump which is 260m away. There are 20 Listed Buildings within 2km of the site. There are two locally listed heritage assets within the site, the remains of a WW2 firing range and a concrete railway bridge, although these are not within the proposed extraction areas. The nearest Scheduled Monument is St Olave's Priory, which is 390m away. There are 2 Scheduled Monuments within 2km of the site. Halvergate Marshes Conservation Area is adjacent to the site boundary and Haddiscoe Conservation Area is 330m from the site. There are no Registered Historic Parks and Gardens within 2km of the site. A planning application for mineral extraction at this site would need to include a Heritage Statement to identify heritage assets and their settings, assess the potential for impacts and identify appropriate mitigation measures if required.
Archaeology: This site could reveal nationally important remains for early and middle Pleistocene early human settlements in NW Europe, perhaps linking to finds at Norton Subcourse and Pakefield (in Suffolk). There are Historic Environment records of features in the site most of which are linked to a WW2 military site possibly a training site, within the site boundary. The proposer of the site has indicated two extraction areas within the wider site area; neither the local listed features (remains of a WW2 firing range, and a former railway bridge) are within these extraction areas. A number of undesignated heritage assets have been provisionally identified which may be linked to the WW2 training area. The site is currently a commercial forestry plantation within which felling operations take place, which involve the use of heavy vehicles and earth moving operations. These operations may have degraded the undesignated heritage assets, although good practice for tree felling operations states that archaeological features should be protected. Therefore, an assessment of the significance of archaeological deposits will be required at the planning application stage, in order to protect and mitigate the impact of mineral extraction in this site. However, the Norfolk Historic Environment Service have stated that they consider that no appropriate mitigation or modification of the site would be able to prevent harm to the undesignated heritage assets which as a whole make up the significance of the WW2 training area, of which few examples remain.
The final few sentences of the extract have been underlined because they clearly contradict one another. We believe that the site is able to be developed for quarrying purposes. Within the submission by Brett for the Call for Sites a detailed heritage appraisal was undertaken - a summary of the report is provided below:
Direct Impacts on Heritage Assets - The site is known to contain military structures dating from WWI and predominantly WWII. Some of these are solidly engineered in concrete, whilst the majority are understood to be of more flimsy construction making use of wood, chicken wire and corrugated iron.
The PAA may also retain earlier archaeology, in particular from the later prehistoric period.
In the past 5 years tree felling has occurred across approximately 60% of the proposed extraction areas. This has involved heavy machinery, including evidence of some ground reduction caused by the windrowing of the wastage. The damage caused to archaeology, both military and earlier, could not be quantified on the site visit, but it is considered that it could be significant.
Should this site be allocated, a thorough survey should be carried out using GPS and photography to create a catalogue of archaeology. Some archaeological evaluation may be required. This would allow an assessment of the distribution, form, condition and significance of all archaeology within the PAA.
Opportunities - Any future planning application would require a mitigation strategy to manage the archaeological resource. This would involve a combination of preservation in situ, excavation and recording.
The majority of the military structures identified in the 2009 survey by Warner and Wilby lie outside or on the periphery of the proposed extraction areas and preservation in situ of these outliers should be the objective.
These were only temporary structures and in time they will inevitably decay and collapse through natural processes. Excavation and recording of a selection of structure types within the extraction areas would be an important contribution to our understanding of how they were constructed and operated.
Consideration should be given to the consolidation of some of the military remains to ensure their preservation for the future. There is also potential to create an educational resource, based around any consolidated structures should the restoration concept permit, that would be an important public benefit.
This approach has been adopted elsewhere, for example at Binnegar Quarry, Dorset where an auxiliary bunker has been archaeologically excavated and the results will form the focus of a display in an on-site education centre recounting the history of the Auxiliary Units in Dorset
The Heritage Appraisal reaches the following conclusion:
"On current evidence, there are no overriding constraints to the allocation of this site and, from an archaeological and heritage perspective and subject to appropriate mitigation, the proposals provide opportunities for educational benefit and conform to national planning policy and guidance."
The current Consultation Documents produced by the County Council acknowledge that:
* * no local listed feature falls within the proposed extraction area;
* * the site is commercial forestry plantation within which felling operations take place, which involve the use of heavy vehicles and earth moving operations;
* * commercial forestry operation may have degraded the undesignated heritage assets;
* * further archaeological assessment work will be required.

The sites complete heritage significance is currently unknown. Some features which are recognised as having some historic significance (solid and brick built structures which are designated at local level) are excluded from any potential working scheme. Features which require further investigation relate to temporary structures used for an unknown purpose. They are not built of solid construction but a combination of wire, wooden posts and corrugated sheeting. None of which would survive long term and, as acknowledged, there is the potential they have already been damaged by commercial forestry activities.
A meeting took place with the County Council on 17th October 2019 to discuss the potential opportunity that could arise from a quarry development and mineral operator involvement to allow for proper archaeological assessment. Pending these investigations there is also opportunity through a considered restoration scheme for some acknowledgement and memorial to former military uses.
At the meeting held with the Norfolk Historic Environment Service it was acknowledged that it is difficult to say that, 'no appropriate mitigation or modification of the site would be able to prevent harm to the undesignated heritage assets which as a whole make up the significance of the WW2 training area, of which few examples remain', without further assessment to ascertain the significance of the asset. The Norfolk Historic Environment Service are going to liaise with the Company over the potential proportionate scope for further assessment work. This will likely include further desk based analysis and field work which the Company are prepared to consider.
In regard to Landscape Designations, the assessment states:
The site is not located within the AONB, or a Core River Valley. 43 hectares of the site are within the Broads Authority Executive Area, including one of the extraction areas, and part of the other; the NPPF states that local planning authorities should "as far as practicable, provide for the maintenance of landbanks of non-energy minerals from outside the Broads". The site is within the landscape character area described as 'Waveney Rural Wooded Valley' in the Great Yarmouth Borough Landscape Character Assessment. The Broads Authority Landscape Character Assessment classifies the part of the site within the Broads as outside the 'St Olaves to Burgh Castle' landscape character area. The proposal is that a screen of trees would be retained between the extraction areas and the 'St Olaves to Burgh Castle' landscape character area to the west and north of the site and protect long distance views.
The majority of the site comprises woodland, split between a larger area of conifer plantation, with remnant areas of heath, on the higher land and broadleaf woodland on the valley floor. An area of marshland/reedbed along the river edge is excluded from the proposed site. Expansive views of the afforested margins of the site can be seen across the marshes from the railway, the A149 and from the public rights of way along the Rivers Waveney and Yare and the New Cut. In addition, views of the edge of the conifer plantation can be seen from the edge of Fritton and New Road. The higher areas of the site within the coniferous plantations, generally the land to the south and east, would be screened by the retention of a screen of significant blocks of coniferous woodland with additional woodland planting.
The proposed haul route accesses the site from the south from the A143. Although there are highway verges with hedges and mature trees along the highway corridor, the bunding and screening of the haul route would need to be designed carefully to ensure that the impact on the setting of the Waveney Forest is acceptable and the tarmac surfacing of the road (necessary for dust suppression) would add an urbanising element to the landscape. However, with the removal of the road and removal of the screen bunds on restoration the impacts are considered acceptable in landscape terms.
A landscape and visual impact assessment of the proposed development from the wider Broads landscape would be required at any planning application stage. The landscape mitigation, restoration proposals and design approach would need to be informed by this assessment and by the relevant Landscape Character Assessments.
The NPPF (paragraph 172) advocates, 'great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty which have the highest status of protection in relation to these issues'. Although part of the site falls within the Broads Executive Area, the above landscape character descriptions appear to acknowledge that the site conflicts with the wider landscape character of the 'Broads' area. It is also likely that the Broads area boundary was established by the presence of the old railway line that cuts through the proposed site. This formed a logical boundary. Subsequent uses including woodland planting/forestry have further eroded the potential significance this specific area contributes to the wider landscape character. Existing landscape features also protect long distance views.
It is accepted that the NPPF (paragraph 205) seeks to maintain landbanks for minerals outside of these designated areas. However, as referred above, it is perceived that this area is not making an essential contribution to the landscape character. As such, temporary mineral extraction operations (screened by the presence of existing landscape features) are unlikely to cause significant harm to the designation. In addition, mineral extraction could facilitate restoration to uses more appropriate for this sites location situated within the Broads Executive Area.
The Sustainability Appraisal
We have some concerns with the Sustainability Appraisal scoring for land at Waveney Forest, Fritton:
SA1 - It is unclear why some sites score more positively than others when they are similar distances to main towns. Why has a score of '+' rather than '++' been given? The site is in close proximity to two urban areas / main towns, Great Yarmouth and Gorelston on Sea. As referred to above, the Plan is proposing a spatial strategy with preference for mineral sites located close to the likely markets they will serve.
SA5 - We have concerns that the evaluation within the SA is not taken forward to the assessment. Sites with known heritage interests in close proximity are proposed for allocation with no clear indication on mitigation. Further to our comments above, the proposals for Waveney Forest do not have any impact on any designated asset. There is no justification for a score of '- -' post extraction on the site. Brett have offered a restoration scheme that would build on the heritage interest in the area and provide beneficial opportunities. This has not been recognised in any of the assessment documents produced by the County Council to date.
SA8 - why has a '-' score been applied when it is acknowledged that there will be no impact upon any designated landscape and the existing woodland will screen the proposed development?
SA11 - a score of '++' should be applied due to the proximity of Great Yarmouth and Gorleston on Sea and the lack of other allocated sites in closer proximity.
Conclusions
The site is located approximately 9km from Great Yarmouth, the emerging Minerals and Waste Local Plan Review sets out a 'locational preference' to potential site allocations which are 'close and/ or well related' to the Great Yarmouth Urban Area. This is such a site and it is understood by the promoter to be the closest land-won aggregate site to Great Yarmouth with reserves throughout the Plan period. No other major sites are being taken forward as allocations within the Great Yarmouth area leading to increased haulage distance from other allocations/operations. Furthermore, there are no other major extraction operations within the immediate vicinity which would lead to consideration of cumulative effects. Land to the north of Welcome Pit, Burgh Castle has been promoted but has been considered unsuitable for allocation because the local road network is sub standard. Even if this site were considered suitable for allocation the reserve and annual tonnage are so small that they would not make a meaningful contribution to the landbank and year on year supply of aggregate to the local market.
The main impact of the proposals relates to heritage interest and potential for structures from WW2. These are predominantly temporary structures (for example constructed of timber, chicken wire, corrugated iron and sandbags) and that the cycle of forestry planting and felling will potentially have destroyed or significantly affected these remains. Mineral extraction offers an opportunity to survey, excavate and record, as well as consolidating and preserving archaeological artefacts in situ for future generations.
By adopting the approach preferred by Brett and the landowner, the site will be able to offer a net biodiversity gain creating ecological habitats that are more in keeping with the local environment including woodland, wetland / wet woodland on restoration. In addition to long term habitat creation and protection, wider benefits will be derived from the development through comprehensive restoration including opportunities for public access and interpretation of heritage assets.
The public benefit derived from these proposals outweigh the potential damage, as set out in NPPF.
It is therefore submitted that the site represents an ideal opportunity for allocation for sand and gravel extraction as part of the Norfolk Minerals and Waste Local Plan Review.
I trust that the above comments are helpful. Should you have any queries or wish to discuss any of the points raised in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact us.