Policy MP10: safeguarding of port and rail facilities, and facilities for the manufacture of concrete, asphalt and recycled materials

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Comment

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 94882

Received: 28/10/2019

Respondent: Cemex UK Materials Ltd

Representation:

The policy does not make explicit reference to the use of such facilities for the handling of prmary aggregate. It should be revised to include facilities that handle primary materials are also safeguarded.

Full text:

The policy does not make explicit reference to the use of such facilities for the handling of prmary aggregate. It should be revised to include facilities that handle primary materials are also safeguarded.

Comment

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 98595

Received: 30/10/2019

Respondent: Carter Concrete Limited

Agent: David L Walker Ltd

Representation:

It is respectfully suggested that Policies MP9 and MP10 could be expanded to include reference to precast blockworks to use indigenous materials and aggregate bagging plants, as both are viable forms of ancillary development at aggregates sites in principal.

Full text:

We are instructed by Carter Concrete (part of the RG Carter Group) to prepare and submit representations on the Preferred Options consultation of the Minerals and Waste Local Plan Review.
Carter Concrete own and operate the existing sand and gravel pit at Beeston Regis. The site benefits from an allocation for an eastern extension (site MIN69 under the adopted MSA). The company is promoting the same area of land under this emerging plan (retaining the reference MIN 69).


Addressing each in turn.
1. General policy comments
Carter Concrete would support the Vision promoted by the council in section 6 of the document. However, the company would like to see emphasis placed on the value and significance of minerals and waste development in providing a diverse and affluent rural economy consistent with Paragraph 83 of the NPPF.

Carter Concrete is pleased to see the council's commitment to Sustainable Development, but is disappointed to note that the council haven't provided a clear policy in this regard. Such an approach is clearly not consistent with the NPPF nor the attendant Planning Practice Guidance. The council already has a policy in this regard (SD1 of the Mineral Site Allocations DOD 2017) which could be easily translated into this emerging policy document.

The company would support Policy MW2, but would suggest that in the final paragraph when considering potential environmental benefits this could clearly states geo-diversity benefits where applicable.

Regarding Policy MW3 whist the company supports the aspiration for the use of other transport modes more often that not such avenues are not available, and as such the term "Where appropriate" should replace the word "All".

No comments are offered on the remainder of the general or the waste policies.

As regards to the mineral policies the contents of paragraphs MP1-MP10 inclusive are supported in full. No comments are offered on the remainder of the strategic landbank type policies for the other minerals.

Under paragraph MP2.6 the company would question the definition of a Main Town as this does not appear to list the town of Sherringham which is a clear development centre identified under local policy documents.

In respect of Policy MP2, paragraph 23 of the NPPF states "Broad locations for development should be indicated on a key diagram, and landuse designations and allocations identified on a policies map." The spatial definition identified is suggested to be too narrow to meet the broad criteria identified above and is therefore not consistent with national policy as it does not take account of the unique facet of minerals extraction (i.e. they can only be worked where they are found).

Paragraph MP7.6 refers to Green Infrastructure mapping. It is suggested that a high-resolution copy of the map provided is either included as an appendix or a weblink, as the drawing provided is of low quality and cannot be easily used on an interpretive basis.

It is considered that Policy MP7 should apply equally to extensions as well as new sites.

It is respectfully suggested that Policies MP9 and MP10 could be expanded to include reference to precast blockworks to use indigenous materials and aggregate bagging plants, as both are viable forms of ancillary development at aggregates sites in principal.

2. Comments on site MIN 69
Carter Concrete has recently submitted a planning application (ref FUL/2019/0001) to receive approximately half of the mineral resource identified in this allocation profile. This is as a sustainable and logical extension to the current site utilising the processing and access infrastructure of the latter. A Regulation 25 response is being collated and will shortly be submitted to address matters raised through the consultation process in the determination of the planning application.

Carter Concrete would confirm that the boundary on the allocation map is correct but would state that the indicative site buffer illustrated in the south of the allocation are is no longer proposed. This was proposed to provide a means of mitigation in view of the proposal to remove part of the existing woodland around the current site. This proposal no longer forms part of the scheme and therefore the mitigation isn't required. It is therefore proposed that the area indicated as the herringbone hatch on the plan is no longer required and should be included in the allocation area.

A plan confirming this proposed change is attached. This also illustrates a 100m radius around the allocation area, with the only potentially sensitive receptors situated south of Holt Road which is a clear and apparent source of acoustic and air quality impacts. Carter Concrete would not disagree with the wording of paragraph M69.1 which is factual in nature but would suggest that for context the influence of the A148 on local amenity is clearly indicated as this forms part of the baseline consideration of any scheme.

Regarding paragraph M69.2, Carter Concrete have committed to provide enhancements to Britons Lane and the junction of Holt Road with Britons Lane as part of application ref FUL/2019/0001. This has included an alternative solution to provide a cost-effective means (consistent with paragraph 108c of the NPPF) to consider highways safety. The reference to the consideration of a sustainable and cost-effective alternative solution (backed up by an RSA) could therefore also be provided in this paragraph. It should also be noted that the company is also content to enter into an obligation to restrict right turn access out of the site thereby limiting traffic along Britons Lane north of the site access.

Regarding paragraph M69.3, it is recommended that the earthwork and bank features along the parish boundary between Aylmerton and Beeston Regis (Norfolk HER ref 57910) areclearly referenced for baseline context.

Reference paragraph M69.5, as part of the current planning application Carter Concrete have provided geophysical investigation and trial trench evidence which has identified that whilst there are finds and features on site these are indicative of the surrounding area and as such would only have a local value or significance. Again, this could be added to provide context.

With regard to Paragraph M69.6 this should reflect the fact that the woodland to the south is mainly advance planting provided by the applicant as a means of long-term visual mitigation.

Carter Concrete would wholly support the wording of paragraphs M69.7 and M69.8.

With respect to paragraph M69.10, it is noted that the Council would be willing to consider the removal of some trees to connect to the two landforms. Would the council be willing to confirm how much woodland could be removed in principle, as recent discussions indicated that some of the council's internal departments would be concerned with large scale removal of such habitat.

Carter Concrete would wholly support the wording of paragraphs M69.12 to M69.19 inclusive and would reaffirm that as part of the current planning application the company is developing long term plans to sustainably manage the biodiversity and geo-diversity.

Paragraphs M80.20-M69-24 inclusive, no comments are offered.

Regarding paragraph M69.25, the company would consult with the council and other interested stakeholders to develop a suitable site restoration strategy.

The prime focus of the scheme would be to provide a very high quality restoration scheme for both the existing site, and proposed extension, with an emphasis on nature conservation habitat (specifically heathland), with improved public access, better access to geo-diversity and retention of exposures wherever possible; together with information boards (conveying information about the ecology, geology and geomorphology of the site). The provision of permissive routes through the restoration landform would also be considered by Carter Concrete.

In general terms the company supports the allocation of site MIN69, with the above intended to provide greater context and content for the allocation profile.

In the event that written reps and or a hearing is required as part of the examination process Carter Concrete would reserve the right to make further representations either to reinforce the above or provide new content where applicable.

Comment

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 98768

Received: 30/10/2019

Respondent: Mineral Products Association

Representation:

The MPA welcomes and support the reference to the 'agent of change' principle in paragraph MP10.3 of the supporting text. However, it is felt that for the purposes of clarity and effectiveness the wording of the policy should be adjusted as follows to apply the 'agent of change' principle;

Proposed Changes (new text in CAPITALS)
The County Council will safeguard:
a) 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
b) Existing, planned and potential sites for concrete batching, the manufacture of coated materials, other concrete products and the handling, processing and distribution of PRIMARY, 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. THE 'AGENT OF CHANGE' PRINCIPLE WILL BE APPLIED TO ALL SUCH DEVELOPMENT.

Full text:

Please note that the MPA would wish to attend the EiP.
Comment:
Vision
We agree with the principle of the vision but suggest change in wording in respect of the safeguarding vision in that mention should be made to the agent of change detailed in the NPPF (para 182) and make the vision compliant with National Policy.

Proposed Changes (new text in CAPITALS)
Resources of sand and gravel, carstone and silica sand within defined Mineral Safeguarding Areas will be safeguarded from needless sterilisation by non-mineral development. Infrastructure for the storage, handling, processing and transportation of minerals will also be safeguarded from incompatible development. THE 'AGENT OF CHANGE' PRINCIPLE WILL BE APPLIED TO ANY NEW PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT IMPACTING ON SAFEGUARDED AREAS OR SITES.

Mineral Strategic Objective
The following adjustments are suggested to the following objectives to make the to properly reflect NPPF;
Proposed Changes (new text in CAPITALS)

MSO1. To provide a steady and adequate supply of aggregate minerals AND TO PROVIDE AT LEAST A 7-YEAR LAND BANK FOR SAND AND GRAVEL, AND 10-YEAR LANDBANK FOR CARSTONE, by identifying adequate mineral extraction sites/areas within Norfolk sufficient to meet the requirements of the Local Aggregate Assessment and safeguarding existing infrastructure.

MSO2. To provide a steady and adequate supply of industrial minerals by identifying adequate mineral extraction sites/areas within Norfolk sufficient to meet the forecast need AND STOCKS OF PERMITTED RESERVES OF SILICA SAND OF AT LEAST 10 YEARS PRODUCTION FOR INDIVIDUAL SILICA SITES OR AT LEAST 15 YEARS WHERE SIGNIFICANT NEW CAPITAL IS CAPITAL IS REQUIRED and safeguarding existing infrastructure.

MSO4. To safeguard silica sand, carstone, and sand and gravel resources for future use. Avoiding unnecessary sterilisation by encouraging the extraction of minerals prior to other development taking place where practicable and using minerals in construction on the land from which they are extracted. THE 'AGENT OF CHANGE' PRINCIPLE WILL BE APPLIED TO ANY NEW PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT IMPACTING ON SAFEGUARDED AREAS OR SITES.

MSO5. To promote the sustainable transport of minerals by rail, road and water, including the safeguarding of railheads and wharfs for the import of minerals to and export of minerals from Norfolk. THE 'AGENT OF CHANGE' PRINCIPLE WILL BE APPLIED TO ANY NEW PROPOSED development impacting on safeguarded sites.

Biodiversity and Geological Conservation
Para 8.18 to 8.21
We consider that the above paragraphs do not properly reflect NPPF in that the Plan as drafted does not properly distinguish between the hierarchy of international, national and locally designated sites as required by paragraph 171 of the NPPF. As such the Plan is unsound.

Historic Environment
Para 8.28 to 8.30
In the absence of a specific policy on this topic we believe the text needs to better reflect the NPPF at paragraph 189;
"The level of detail should be proportionate to the assets' importance and no more than is sufficient to understand the potential impact of the proposal on their significance."
While the text goes some way to this by using the phrase 'in a manner appropriate to their significance', we believe that there is a difference between proportionate and appropriate. Proportionate goes to the amount of time/resource needed to determine the impact of a development proposal on a heritage asset.
In addition, as drafted the text could be interpreted that all heritage assets regardless of significance must be preserved.
For the above reasons the text is unsound as it does not align with nation al policy and is also not effective. The text needs to be redrafted to reflect national policy.

Policy MW3: Transport
Suggested altered wording for the last bullet point of the policy as follows to make the policy effective;

Proposed Changes (new text in CAPITALS)
WHERE PRACTICAL AND appropriate measures to reduce car travel to the site by workers and visitors and encourage walking, cycling and use of public transport.
This alteration is made to prevent a dogmatic approach being taken. We have examples of cycle racks needing to be provided when it was clearly impractical for individuals to safely cycle to the site.

Policy MW4: Climate Change
Proposed Changes (new text in CAPITALS)
g) incorporate proposals for sustainable travel, including travel plans where PRACTICAL AND appropriate.
Due to the often-isolated nature of mineral workings public transport or cycling are not practical. Therefore, the additional wording is suggested to make the policy effective and preventing unnecessary work for the developer/applicant.

Policy MW6: Agricultural soils
It is felt that the last bullet point is unnecessary and could dilute the policy in terms of the importance of agricultural restoration. With climate change the ability to have land to grow food will become even more important. The proposed changes make the policy effective.
The wording of the policy needs adjusting as follows:

Proposed Changes
Where development is proposed on agricultural land, the County Council has a clear preference for locating new mineral extraction and associated activities, and composting facilities, on land of agricultural grades 3b, 4 and 5.
Development proposals affecting Grade 1 agricultural land will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances, where it is demonstrated that there are no alternative locations for the development.
In addition to the above, when minerals development, particularly extraction, is proposed on agricultural land of grades 1, 2 or 3a it will [DELETE: only] be permitted where:
* Provision is made for high standards of soil management that would enable restoration to a condition at least as good as its previous agricultural quality. To demonstrate this, soil and land quality surveys, and soil handling and replacement strategies (based upon Defra's 'Good Practice Guide for Handling Soils') must be submitted to the County Planning Authority; or
DELETE THE FOLLOWING TEXT: "The benefit of restoring the land to another after-use can be shown to outweigh the loss of the agricultural use of the land."
Policy MP1: Provision for minerals extraction
Changes are required to make it clear that the landbanks levels have to be maintained so they are in place at the end of the plan period to make the policy accord with national policy and be effective .In respect of silica sand changes are needed to make the policy accord with NPPF .
Suggested re wording as follows;
Proposed Changes (new text in CAPITALS)
For sand and gravel, specific sites to deliver at least 20,313,300 tonnes of resources will be allocated. The sand and gravel landbank will be maintained at a level of at least 7 years supply THROUGHOUT THE PLAN PERIOD (excluding any contribution from borrow pits for major construction projects).
For carstone, a site or sites to deliver at least 340,200 tonnes of resources will be allocated. The landbank for carstone will be maintained at a level of at least 10 years' supply THROUGHOUT THE PLAN PERIOD.
For silica sand, sufficient sites and/or areas to deliver at least 10,500,000 tonnes of silica sand will be allocated. [Delete: The landbank] STOCKS OF PERMITTED RESERVES for silica sand will be maintained at a level of at least 10 years' [Delete: supply] PRODUCTION FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL SILICA SAND SITE OR AT LEAST 15 YEARS WHERE SIGNIFICANT NEW CAPITAL IS REQUIRED. [Delete: where practicable]. Planning applications for silica sand extraction located outside of allocated sites or areas of search, 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 MP13.

Policy MP2: Spatial Strategy for mineral extraction - STRATEGIC POLICY
There should be no buffers applied to the so-called planning constraints. The acceptability or not of approaching such constraints will be a matter for the EIA and the development management process. Arbitrary buffers risk the sterilisation of workable mineral when they could be satisfactorily worked without impact.
There is no evidential basis for the buffers and the policy is unsound as it is not effective and is not positive planning.

Policy MP10: safeguarding of port and rail facilities, and facilities for the manufacture of concrete, asphalt and recycled materials
The MPA welcomes and support the reference to the 'agent of change' principle in paragraph MP10.3 of the supporting text. However, it is felt that for the purposes of clarity and effectiveness the wording of the policy should be adjusted as follows to apply the 'agent of change' principle;

Proposed Changes (new text in CAPITALS)
The County Council will safeguard:
a) 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
b) Existing, planned and potential sites for concrete batching, the manufacture of coated materials, other concrete products and the handling, processing and distribution of PRIMARY, 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. THE 'AGENT OF CHANGE' PRINCIPLE WILL BE APPLIED TO ALL SUCH DEVELOPMENT.

Policy MP11: Mineral Safeguarding Areas and Mineral Consultation Areas.
For the same reasons as stated for Policy MP10 wording of the policy should be altered to incorporate the 'agent of change' principle as follows;
Proposed Changes (new text in CAPITALS)
Policy MP11: Minerals Safeguarding Areas and Minerals Consultation Areas
The County Council will safeguard existing, permitted and allocated mineral extraction sites from inappropriate development proposals. Minerals 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.

Other Comment

Section 42. Page 84...The Targets/trigger levels do not conform with land bank policy requirements or those for stock of permitted reserves, wither in the proposed Policy MP1 or the NPPF.

The MPA would like to be present at any EiP.

Comment

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 98872

Received: 30/10/2019

Respondent: Essex County Council

Representation:

The proposed policy approaches are supported although it is considered that the operation of these policies would be significantly improved by delineating, by way of an appendix referred to in each policy, the nature of evidence that would be required to be submitted alongside a non-mineral application such that the County Council could be satisfied that the proposed development would not have a detrimental impact on existing or allocated sites for mineral development. It is suggested that the plan makers consider the provisions of the POS/MPA Minerals Safeguarding Practice Guidance as a basis for the type of information that should inform the relevant assessments.

Full text:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Norfolk Minerals & Waste Local Plan Preferred Options, July 2019.

Essex County Council acting as the Minerals and Waste Planning Authority would like to make the following comments:

Vision
The intention for Norfolk to be self-sufficient in sand and gravel production and waste management, where practicable, is supported. The continuing recognition that Norfolk is an important supplier at the national level of silica sand is also welcomed, as is the acknowledgement of the need to safeguard minerals and waste infrastructure.

The current Vision seeks to avoid 'unacceptable adverse impacts on the amenity of local communities, the natural, built and historic environment, the landscape and townscape of Norfolk. Opportunities to enhance such features will be supported.' The intention is supported but it is noted that the Government have mandated that new development should result in net biodiversity gain. It is considered that this should be bought out within the Vision and/or the Strategic Objectives, as well as relevant policy.

Mineral Strategic Objectives - MSO1
It is considered that MSO1 would benefit from being re-drafted to mirror the drafting of MSO2. The stated aim of MSO1 is (inter-alia) 'To provide a steady and adequate supply of aggregate ... sufficient to meet the requirements of the Local Aggregate Assessment'. The Local Aggregate Assessment is a reporting and forecasting tool and therefore does not strictly contain a specific 'requirement'. MSO2 refers to the intention 'To provide a steady and adequate supply of industrial minerals...sufficient to meet the forecast need'. It is considered that MSO1 would benefit from being redrafted to also reflect the intention to meet a forecasted need. A supporting reference could set out that the LAA assists in the establishment of need forecasts.

General Policies
Policy MW3 - Transport
The plan makers may wish to consider including a hierarchy of preference for transportation routes to ensure that site promoters are required to expressly consider the most sustainable route to the nearest Principal Road or Main Distributor Road. This may aid in ensuring that applications demonstrate adherence to the provisions of Paragraph 9.5, Paragraph 9.6 and Paragraph W2.1b

Waste Specific Policies
Paragraph W0.5 - The paragraph references Article 16 of the Waste Framework Directive with regard to what is expected for compliance with the proximity principle
and self-sufficiency with respect to waste management. The Plan makers may wish to consider PPG Paragraph: 007 Reference ID: 28-007-20141016 as a secondary or replacement reference as this defines expectations for the same as they relate to waste planning authorities rather than Member States. It is recognised that the appropriateness of substituting the reference is tempered by the fact that the PPG is not strictly policy.

Policy WP1 - Waste management capacity to be provided
The methodologies used to forecast future waste need are considered to be appropriate. The current preferred approach of basing LACW growth on the growth profile set out in the Norfolk SHMA rather than that published by the ONS is supported, as is the utilisation of a locally derived figure for forecasting the need for C&I capacity over the plan period.
The approach to forecasting the future need of hazardous waste management facilities is acknowledged. Forecasting a reduction in need appears appropriate given the reduction in this type of waste that has been managed in the Plan area. However, as with any reduction in forecasted need, it is expected that robust monitoring of the accuracy of these forecasts will be carried out. It is also unclear from the information presented in the Waste Management Capacity Assessment 2017 why an annual reduction in hazardous waste arising of 6.6% has been selected over any other potential figure.

Paragraph W2.1 - The spatial strategy supporting text may benefit from recognising that a number of waste management facilities can be co-located to offer synergistic benefits. The paragraph should also recognise that particular waste management facilities will have locational requirements which restrict where they can be effectively located. This is already recognised in Policy WP2 and Section W3 and therefore it would be appropriate to include the recognition for locational requirements in the factors considered under this paragraph.

Policy WP2: Spatial Strategy for waste management facilities
The requirement for new or enhanced waste management facilities to be located within five miles of one of Norfolk's urban areas or three miles of one of the main towns is considered to be arbitrary and the appropriateness of this is questioned. The primary concern should be whether the site is near to the waste source. Economics will in any event restrict the distance a facility could be located from potential sources of waste material.

Paragraph W3.3 - A distinction could be made between strategic / permanent aggregate recycling facilities and those temporary aggregate recycling facilities which are commonly co-located with active mineral workings. This distinction is already recognised in Policy WP3 so could be mentioned within the supporting text.

Paragraph W4.1 - The following text could be inserted to qualify that recycled aggregate cannot always be used as a direct substitute for primary aggregate - 'Whilst the resultant material is typically lower grade, recycled inert material can still often act as a substitute for freshly excavated material.' In the same vein, it could be noted in a relevant part of the Plan that marine-won aggregate cannot always be used as a direct substitute for land-won aggregate.

Policy WP3 - Land potentially suitable for waste management facilities
Whilst it is recognised that the intentions behind Policy WP7 are positive, it is not considered appropriate to establish caveats for Council operated sites that do not apply to the full range of potential waste management facilities that the county may require. It is considered that Policy WP3 should be amended to include text along the following theme (wording amended from Policy WP7 - "Where sufficient information is submitted to demonstrate that no suitable sites consistent with Policy WP3 are available within the area to be served by the waste management facility, the development of a waste management facility may be acceptable on other sites provided there is an established need for the facility and the proposal is consistent with the development management criteria set out in Policy MW2 and the wider Development Plan."

Policy WP7 - Household Waste Recycling Centres
Whilst it is recognised that the intentions behind Policy WP7 are positive, it is not considered appropriate to establish caveats for Council operated sites that do not apply to the full range of potential waste management facilities that the county may require.

Policy WP17 - Safeguarded waste management facilities
The proposed approach is supported although it is considered that the operation of this policy would be significantly improved by delineating, by way of an appendix referred to in the policy, the nature of evidence that would be required to be submitted alongside a non-waste application such that the County Council could be satisfied that the proposed development would not impact on the operation of the current or future waste management facility.

It is also considered that the plan makers consider including extending safeguarding provisions to sites allocated for a waste use. Whilst it is noted that the current version of the emerging Plan includes no such waste allocations, this stance may change in the future, and the inclusion of 'allocated sites' in the policy wording at this juncture may future-proof the policy.

Mineral Specific Policies
Sand and gravel requirements and shortfall
The intention to provide aggregate above both the ten year and three year rolling averages is supported in recognition of the fact that the last three years of sales demonstrate an upward trend and that the ten year rolling average would fail to satisfy the last four years of production. It is agreed that sales over the last ten years have been significantly lower than the figure presented in the sub-national guidelines although it is further noted that sales prior to the recession were noticeably closer to the figure presented in the guidelines.

The argument of basing sand and gravel provision on a 20 year sale average is however questioned. The 20 year period is considered to 'take into account potential fluctuations in the economy' (Para MP1.6) whereas the Norfolk LAA 2017/18 states (Section 6.2) that 'modern methods of construction use considerably less aggregate than methods used in previous decades, and this decline in the intensity of aggregate use has been a continuing trend over a number of years.' This LAA statement brings into question the appropriateness of using 20 year old figures and appears to contradict the appropriateness of doing so as advocated by the Norfolk MWLP Paragraph MP1.6.

Notwithstanding the above, the 20 year sand and gravel production average equates to approximately 85% of current production. Whilst it is recognised that a direct parallel cannot be made, it is considered that the appropriateness of the 20 year production average figure needs to be justified, in qualitative terms, on the basis of both current rates of production / development in Norfolk and future rates of development. This assessment should also consider demand from significant projects such as the relatively proximate Sizewell C nuclear facility.

To clarify, ECC is not necessarily objecting to the annualised production figure that equates to the 20 year rolling sales average, but considers that this figure needs to be more robustly justified in the context of a comparison of current and future needs rather than that the figure simply equating to 20 years of rolling sales.
The intention to not offset the need for primary allocations with an assumed contribution from recycled and marine-won aggregate is supported.

Paragraph MP1.10 - The appropriateness of basing silica sand supply on an annual production figure of 750,000 is not understood on the basis of this figure failing to meet the three-year sales average since 2013. As noted in the Norfolk LAA 2017/18, Norfolk is a significant national supplier of silica sand and it is considered that the proposed annual production figure may represent under-provision.

Policy MP1 - Provision for mineral extraction
The over-arching principles of Policy MP1 are supported although the appropriateness of the need figures for sand and gravel and silica sand are questioned on the basis of the representations made with regard to the 'sand and gravel requirements and shortfall' section and Paragraph MP1.10.

Defining Areas of Search (for Silica Sand) and Policy MP2 - Spatial Strategy for mineral extraction
It is considered that Areas of Search should not be limited by factors that would not amount to show-stoppers for mineral working itself. For example, as a temporary land use, mineral extraction is not considered to have the same impact on heritage assets and their setting as more permanent forms of development. Mineral extraction may even present opportunities to improve the setting of heritage assets in the long-term through sympathetic restoration. As such, it is considered that Areas of Search should be re-defined to include all relevant land where mineral extraction could theoretically be permitted.

The requirement for all sites to be within five miles of one of Norfolk's urban areas or three miles of one of the main towns is considered to be arbitrary. It is questioned how much land otherwise suitable for mineral extraction would be lost through not conforming to this requirement.

Policy MP3 - Borrow Pits
The requirement for a borrow pit to be capable of being accessed from the construction project site either directly or via a short length of suitable highway is considered to be unduly restrictive and may unduly fetter the development management process. Further, rather than stipulating that the borrow pit must be worked and restored by the completion of the related construction project, it may be more appropriate to request that a restoration scheme is agreed as part of the construction project in order to potentially increase the scope for beneficial after-uses. The remaining provisions are supported.

Paragraph MP11.6 - This paragraph states that 'To ensure that the Mineral Safeguarding Areas are proportionate, the area covered by the MSA will include only those deposits which are most likely to be commercially viable.' On this point, it is noted that the aim of safeguarding mineral is to protect the mineral to allow its future use, which may be some way into the future. What is considered 'most likely to be commercially viable' may well change in the future. On that basis, it is considered more appropriate to safeguard the whole sand and gravel resource and apply a threshold above which planning applications within an MSA will be subject to safeguarding policy. . It is suggested that the plan makers consider the provisions of the POS/MPA Minerals Safeguarding Practice Guidance in relation to this issue.

Policy MP10: safeguarding of port and rail facilities, and facilities for the manufacture of concrete, asphalt and recycled materials and Policy MP11: Minerals Safeguarding Areas and Minerals Consultation Areas
The proposed policy approaches are supported although it is considered that the operation of these policies would be significantly improved by delineating, by way of an appendix referred to in each policy, the nature of evidence that would be required to be submitted alongside a non-mineral application such that the County Council could be satisfied that the proposed development would not have a detrimental impact on existing or allocated sites for mineral development. It is suggested that the plan makers consider the provisions of the POS/MPA Minerals Safeguarding Practice Guidance as a basis for the type of information that should inform the relevant assessments.