MP12. Energy minerals

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Comment

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 98895

Received: 28/10/2019

Respondent: IGas Energy Plc

Representation:

IGas Energy PLC (IGas) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the consultation on the Norfolk County Council Minerals and Waste Local Plan Preferred Options (the Plan). IGas has extensive interests in hydrocarbon production and exploration within the UK.

Summary:
* IGas supports the vision and objectives of the Plan for future development and is of the view that onshore oil and gas could make a significant contribution towards achieving sustainable development by the efficient use of natural mineral resources and which would contribute to the economy.
* It is questionable whether there is a need for the Chapter and MP12 Energy Minerals and Policy MP12 given the geology of the county. However, I Gas understands why they have been included and supports the principles of such.
* IGas recommends the role of the Oil and Gas Authority is included alongside those of the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive.
* IGas recommends the soles of other regulators be relied upon in accordance with national policy and guidance and criterion (c) be deleted from Policy MP12.
* IGas supports those views expressed by UKOOG in response to this consultation.


Introduction
IGas is a British company listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange. It is a leading UK onshore oil and gas exploration and production business, holding a portfolio of production and exploration assets primarily focused on three regions: the North West, East Midlands and the Weald Basin in Southern England.
The business has more than thirty years' experience of successfully and safely extracting and producing hydrocarbons onshore in the UK working closely with local communities, regulators and mineral planning authorities (MPAs). The UK is recognised globally as a leading example for oil and gas industry regulation.

IGas is committed to the protection of the environment and providing safe and healthy working conditions for its employees and contractors. It is also committed to maintaining close and responsive relationships with the communities in which it operates and has a long track record of engaging with local residents.

IGas has been operating its own Community Fund since 2008 which has, over the last decade, distributed almost £1 million to local projects that are charitable, educational or benevolent in purpose.

IGas holds a number of onshore UK licence interests in the three regions many of which it both owns and operates:
* North West: EXL273 and PEDLs 056, 145, 147, 184, 188, 189, 190,193, 293 and 295.
* East Midlands: AL009, EXL288, ML, 3,4,6 and 7, PEDLs 006, 012, 139, 140, 146,169, 200, 210, 273, 278, 305, 316, 317 and 337 and PLs162, 178,179,199 and 220.
* Weald Basin: DL002 and 004, ML 18 and 21, PEDLs 021, 070, 233, 235, 257 and 326 and PLs 182, 205, 211, 233, 240 and 249.

The East Midlands area is comprised of two primary production centres:
* Welton and Gainsborough. The Welton area is made up of six fields and a gathering centre where the produced oil, gas and water are separated. The produced oil is transported to Conoco lmmingham via road tanker; gas is used for power generation and exported to the National Grid; produced water is pumped for reinjection.
* The Gainsborough area is made up of 10 fields and a processing facility. Oil is transported to Phillips 66 via road taker, gas is piped to Gainsborough 1 for power generation and produced water is pumped for reinjection.
More recently IGas obtained planning permission in east Nottinghamshire (Misson) to develop a hydrocarbon wellsite and drill up to two exploratory boreholes with shale gas being targeted. Construction of the well pad and the drilling of a vertical well has been completed. The results of the drilling are subject to ongoing analysis but the indications are that hydraulic fracturing of the rock should be effective subject to further planning permission.

Local Planning Policy
IGas supports the process of local plan considerations and wishes to ensure that any proposed plan with respect to onshore hydrocarbons is sound and meets with the criteria and policies outlined by Government in the NPPF (as amended), Planning Practice Guidance and related WMSs.
In particular, any policy framework which serves to significantly impede or prevent such development in areas where minerals are found and have been licensed by the Government for hydrocarbon development, will be contrary to national policy unless there is strong evidential justification.

The planning process for onshore oil and gas is one of five regulatory processes that are required under the current policy framework set by government. Planning Policy Guidance 012 and 112 make clear that mineral planning authorities are not responsible for matters covered by other regulatory regimes. It states, MPAs "should assume that these regimes will operate effectively. Whilst these issues may be put before mineral planning authorities, they should not need to carry out their own assessment as they can rely on the assessment of other regulatory bodies." This planning policy principle has been re-confirmed in a number of legal cases (see Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association v West Sussex CC 2014)1. The Plan should make the role of the regulatory bodies clear.

Comments on the Plan
IGas supports the views of UKOOG, the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry, including exploration and production. IGas notes the geology of the Plan area and the fact that it is unlikely to support the presence of hydrocarbons. IGas also notes that whilst historically wells for hydrocarbons have been drilled and more recently seismic surveys carried out, there are no current PEDLs covering the Plan area and therefore no hydrocarbon development proposals could be brought forward at this moment in time. Whilst there may be a further round of onshore licences, which could include Norfolk, there is no timetable for such. It is therefore questionable whether it is necessary for a policy and supporting text for hydrocarbons to be included in the Plan. However, notwithstanding this, in the event the policy is to be retained, IGas would make the following comments in respect of the plan and those polices considered relevant to the hydrocarbon industry.

MP12: Energy minerals
IGas supports the intentions of the Chapter. However there are various points that IGas would wish to draw attention to. The 'Background' section of the chapter refers to other regulatory bodies (MP12.9 and 12.10). Whilst the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) is referred to earlier in the Background as responsible for releasing petroleum exploration licences, it is and independent regulatory body also responsible for a variety of matters relating to the regulation of operators and operations on a site as well.
It is therefore suggested the responsibilities of the OGA be included here as well as the Environment Agency (EA) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

MP12.28; it is important that the Mineral Planning Authority refer to national guidance, planning policy guidance and relevant Written Ministerial Statements as well as the Development Plan as a whole when considering planning applications.

MP12.30 states that 'all applications for oil and gas developments will be considered against the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 2017 (EIA)'. However, it is not clear what this means. It is acknowledged that applications may be screened against the Regulations to establish the need or otherwise for EIA; if this is what the 12.30 intends then it should be made clear. Not all oil and gas development proposals will meet the criteria to be screened for EIA. Greater clarity should be provided as to what this statement means.

MP12.31 states that 'appropriate planning obligations and conditions will be sought to ensure the proposal adheres to the Development Plan'. It is important to be clear that planning permission should be granted if acceptable or can be made acceptable by the imposition of planning conditions. Planning obligations may be sought to control development out with the planning application boundary or within the highway. It is also possible that other agreements may be sought under different legislation, such as works within the highway. It is suggested MP12.31 be reviewed to make its intentions clear.

MP12.32; I Gas agrees that community engagement and close liaison with authorities is important for oil and gas developments. IGas actively engages with the community in accordance with the industry Community Charter and in accordance with mineral planning authority statements of community consultation. It is noted that the County Council adopted a Statement of Community Involvement in December 2018; it is suggested that this is referred to in MP12.32.

Policy MP12: Conventional and unconventional oil and gas development

IGas considers there to be very little difference in the exploration and appraisal stages and the production stages of conventional and unconventional oil and gas developments. It is therefore considered unnecessary to refer to 'conventional and unconventional oil and gas development' in the title of the policy. Given the wording and criterion set out in the policy, it is considered the title could simply refer to 'oil and gas development'.

(c) The integrity of the underlying geological structure is a matter for the OGA and the EA and should not be included as a planning criterion.

(f) 'completed to the satisfaction of the Mineral Planning Authority' should be deleted.

Conclusion
In conclusion, it is questionable in the circumstances whether there is a need for the Chapter and MP12 Energy Minerals and Policy MP12. However, I Gas understands why they have been included and supports the principles of such. If they are to be retained, IGas requests the above comments are taken into account as part of the next stage of the review of the Plan.

Full text:

IGas Energy PLC (IGas) welcomes the opportunity to respond to the consultation on the Norfolk County Council Minerals and Waste Local Plan Preferred Options (the Plan). IGas has extensive interests in hydrocarbon production and exploration within the UK.
Summary
* IGas supports the vision and objectives of the Plan for future development and is of the view that onshore oil and gas could make a significant contribution towards achieving sustainable development by the efficient use of natural mineral resources and which would contribute to the economy.
* It is questionable whether there is a need for the Chapter and MP12 Energy Minerals and Policy MP12 given the geology of the county. However, I Gas understands why they have been included and supports the principles of such.
* IGas recommends the role of the Oil and Gas Authority is included alongside those of the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive.
* IGas recommends the soles of other regulators be relied upon in accordance with national policy and guidance and criterion (c) be deleted from Policy MP12.
* IGas supports those views expressed by UKOOG in response to this consultation.

Introduction
IGas is a British company listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange. It is a leading UK onshore oil and gas exploration and production business, holding a portfolio of production and exploration assets primarily focused on three regions: the North West, East Midlands and the Weald Basin in Southern England.
The business has more than thirty years' experience of successfully and safely extracting and producing hydrocarbons onshore in the UK working closely with local communities, regulators and mineral planning authorities (MPAs). The UK is recognised globally as a leading example for oil and gas industry regulation.
IGas is committed to the protection of the environment and providing safe and healthy working conditions for its employees and contractors. It is also committed to maintaining close and responsive relationships with the communities in which it operates and has a long track record of engaging with local residents.
IGas has been operating its own Community Fund since 2008 which has, over the last decade, distributed almost £1 million to local projects that are charitable, educational or benevolent in purpose.
IGas holds a number of onshore UK licence interests in the three regions many of which it both owns and operates:
* North West: EXL273 and PEDLs 056, 145, 147, 184, 188, 189, 190,193, 293 and 295.
* East Midlands: AL009, EXL288, ML, 3,4,6 and 7, PEDLs 006, 012, 139, 140, 146,169, 200, 210, 273, 278, 305, 316, 317 and 337 and PLs162, 178,179,199 and 220.
* Weald Basin: DL002 and 004, ML 18 and 21, PEDLs 021, 070, 233, 235, 257 and 326 and PLs 182, 205, 211, 233, 240 and 249.
The East Midlands area is comprised of two primary production centres:
* Welton and Gainsborough. The Welton area is made up of six fields and a gathering centre where the produced oil, gas and water are separated. The produced oil is transported to Conoco lmmingham via road tanker; gas is used for power generation and exported to the National Grid; produced water is pumped for reinjection.
* The Gainsborough area is made up of 10 fields and a processing facility. Oil is transported to Phillips 66 via road taker, gas is piped to Gainsborough 1 for power generation and produced water is pumped for reinjection.
More recently IGas obtained planning permission in east Nottinghamshire (Misson) to develop a hydrocarbon wellsite and drill up to two exploratory boreholes with shale gas being targeted. Construction of the well pad and the drilling of a vertical well has been completed. The results of the drilling are subject to ongoing analysis but the indications are that hydraulic fracturing of the rock should be effective subject to further planning permission.
Our response to the Plan, focusses on the Vision and Strategic Objectives; Policy MP12 Conventional and unconventional oil and gas development and the supporting text; and the general development management policies.
Local Planning Policy
IGas supports the process of local plan considerations and wishes to ensure that any proposed plan with respect to onshore hydrocarbons is sound and meets with the criteria and policies outlined by Government in the NPPF (as amended), Planning Practice Guidance and related WMSs.
In particular, any policy framework which serves to significantly impede or prevent such development in areas where minerals are found and have been licensed by the Government for hydrocarbon development, will be contrary to national policy unless there is strong evidential justification.
The planning process for onshore oil and gas is one of five regulatory processes that are required under the current policy framework set by government. Planning Policy Guidance 012 and 112 make clear that mineral planning authorities are not responsible for matters covered by other regulatory regimes. It states, MPAs "should assume that these regimes will operate effectively. Whilst these issues may be put before mineral planning authorities, they should not need to carry out their own assessment as they can rely on the assessment of other regulatory bodies." This planning policy principle has been re-confirmed in a number of legal cases (see Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association v West Sussex CC 2014)1. The Plan should make the role of the regulatory bodies clear.
Comments on the Plan
IGas supports the views of UKOOG, the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry, including exploration and production. IGas notes the geology of the Plan area and the fact that it is unlikely to support the presence of hydrocarbons. IGas also notes that whilst historically wells for hydrocarbons have been drilled and more recently seismic surveys carried out, there are no current PEDLs covering the Plan area and therefore no hydrocarbon development proposals could be brought forward at this moment in time. Whilst there may be a further round of onshore licences, which could include Norfolk, there is no timetable for such. It is therefore questionable whether it is necessary for a policy and supporting text for hydrocarbons to be included in the Plan. However, notwithstanding this, in the event the policy is to be retained, IGas would make the following comments in respect of the plan and those polices considered relevant to the hydrocarbon industry.
Vision and Strategic Objectives
IGas supports the Vision of the Plan. IGas supports the requirement for mineral developments to minimise their impacts on climate change and without unacceptable adverse impacts on the amenity of local communities etc. However, the vision should recognise the diversity of mineral operations and the fact that minerals can only be worked where they occur. IGas is of the view that onshore oil and gas development is compatible with this vision, specifically through the development of an adequate supply of domestic minerals under a regulatory environment superior to that of countries from which the UK imports its minerals. A domestic oil and gas supply offers significant carbon savings over fuels, which otherwise would be imported from overseas, possibly without regulatory regimes as strong as those in the UK, generating much needed local jobs in fields such as engineering and contributing to the transition towards a low carbon economy.
Presumption in favour of sustainable development
IGas supports the Council's approach to the presumption in favour of sustainable development.
Policy MW2: Development Management Criteria
The intentions of this policy are acknowledged. However, it is considered some of the information required are matters for other regulatory bodies and which is recognised in the supporting text. Consequently it is considered that matters relating to such as air quality, water resources and impacts on ground water are matters that should not be listed in the policy.
Policy MW3: Transport
The policy does not recognise or include the use of pipelines as an alternative to HGV transport. Pipelines can be used in the minerals industry, particularly the oil and gas industry, and can contribute to a reduction I the need for HGV movements. Reference to such should be included in the policy.
Policy MW4: Climate change mitigation and adaption
IGas supports the policy and the recognition that the mitigation measures required would apply to the construction and operation of sites. However, the policy does not appear to recognise that some mineral operations may be temporary, such as the exploration of hydrocarbons which could be carried out very a short period of time and therefor the generation or sourcing of energy may not be practical in such circumstance (criterion c). Whilst the intentions of the criterion are supported, provision for temporary operations should be made.
MP12: Energy minerals
IGas supports the intentions of the Chapter. However there are various points that IGas would wish to draw attention to. The 'Background' section of the chapter refers to other regulatory bodies (MP12.9 and 12.10). Whilst the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) is referred to earlier in the Background as responsible for releasing petroleum exploration licences, it is and independent regulatory body also responsible for a variety of matters relating to the regulation of operators and operations on a site as well. It is therefore suggested the responsibilities of the OGA be included here as well as the Environment Agency (EA) and Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
MP12.28; it is important that the Mineral Planning Authority refer to national guidance, planning policy guidance and relevant Written Ministerial Statements as well as the Development Plan as a whole when considering planning applications.
MP12.30 states that 'a// applications for oil and gas developments will be considered against the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 2017 (EIA)'. However, it is not clear what this means. It is acknowledged that applications may be screened against the Regulations to establish the need or otherwise for EIA; if this is what the 12.30 intends then it should be made clear. Not all oil and gas development proposals will meet the criteria to be screened for EIA. Greater clarity should be provided as to what this statement means.
MP12.31 states that 'appropriate planning obligations and conditions will be sought to ensure the proposal adheres to the Development Plan'. It is important to be clear that planning permission should be granted if acceptable or can be made acceptable by the imposition of planning conditions. Planning obligations may be sought to control development out with the planning application boundary or within the highway. It is also possible that other agreements may be sought under different legislation, such as works within the highway. It is suggested MP12.31 be reviewed to make its intentions clear.
MP12.32; I Gas agrees that community engagement and close liaison with authorities is important for oil and gas developments. IGas actively engages with the community in accordance with the industry Community Charter and in accordance with mineral planning authority statements of community consultation. It is noted that the County Council adopted a Statement of Community Involvement in December 2018; it is suggested that this is referred to in MP12.32.
Policy MP12: Conventional and unconventional oil and gas development
IGas considers there to be very little difference in the exploration and appraisal stages and the production stages of conventional and unconventional oil and gas developments. It is therefore considered unnecessary to refer to 'conventional and unconventional oil and gas development' in the title of the policy. Given the wording and criterion set out in the policy, it is considered the title could simply refer to 'oil and gas development'.
(c) The integrity of the underlying geological structure is a matter for the OGA and the EA and should not be included as a planning criterion.
(f) 'completed to the satisfaction of the Mineral Planning Authority' should be deleted.
Conclusion
In conclusion, it is questionable in the circumstances whether there is a need for the Chapter and MP12 Energy Minerals and Policy MP12. However, I Gas understands why they have been included and supports the principles of such. If they are to be retained, IGas requests the above comments are taken into account as part of the next stage of the review of the Plan.
We look forward to the next stage of the process and would be pleased to discuss any of the matters raised to ensure the plan is sound or can be made sound.

Comment

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 98901

Received: 30/10/2019

Respondent: UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG)

Representation:

UKOOG is the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry, including exploration and production.
We support the process of local plan making and want to ensure that any proposed plan with respect to onshore oil and gas is sound and meets with the criteria and policies outlined by Government in the NPPF, Planning Practice Guidance and related Written Ministerial Statements. In our view, minerals plans should establish clear criteria-based policies against which proposals can be transparently assessed on a case by case basis.
The planning process for onshore oil and gas is one of five regulatory processes that are required under the current policy framework set by government. Our view is that minerals plans should include a review of each regulatory function and identify those areas which fall outside of the planning process. PPG 012 and PPG 112 make clear that planning authorities are not responsible for matters covered by other regulatory regimes. MPAs "should assume that these regimes will operate effectively. Whilst these issues may be put before mineral planning authorities, they should not need to carry out their own assessment as they can rely on the assessment of other regulatory bodies." This planning policy principle has been re-confirmed in a number of legal cases including; Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association v West Sussex CC 2014.

MP 12: Energy Minerals
MP 12:28: It is important that the Minerals Planning Authority refer to national guidance, planning policy guidance and relevant written ministerial statements as well as the development plan when considering applications.
MP12.30 states that 'all applications for oil and gas developments will be considered against the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 2017'. This statement requires clarification because not all onshore oil and gas sites will fall under the scope of requiring an EIA.
MP 12 also states that applications should:
e. 'includes a full appraisal programme for the oil and/or gas resource, completed to the satisfaction of the Mineral Planning Authority; and
f. includes a development framework for the site, incorporating or supplemented by justification for the number and extent of the proposed production facilities and an assessment of the proposal's economic impacts.
Both of these points fall within the remit of the Oil and Gas authority (field development plans) and are therefore not material to a local planning committee.
Policy MP 12: Conventional and unconventional oil and gas development
There should not be a differentiation between unconventional and conventional oil and gas development. From a surface perspective, and therefore from a planning perspective - the difference is unnoticeable.
Similarly, the integrity of the underlying geological structure is a matter for the OGA and the EA - it should not be included as a planning criterion.

Full text:

UKOOG is the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry, including exploration and production.
We support the process of local plan making and want to ensure that any proposed plan with respect to onshore oil and gas is sound and meets with the criteria and policies outlined by Government in the NPPF, Planning Practice Guidance and related Written Ministerial Statements. In our view, minerals plans should establish clear criteria-based policies against which proposals can be transparently assessed on a case by case basis.
The planning process for onshore oil and gas is one of five regulatory processes that are required under the current policy framework set by government. Our view is that minerals plans should include a review of each regulatory function and identify those areas which fall outside of the planning process. PPG 012 and PPG 112 make clear that planning authorities are not responsible for matters covered by other regulatory regimes. MPAs "should assume that these regimes will operate effectively. Whilst these issues may be put before mineral planning authorities, they should not need to carry out their own assessment as they can rely on the assessment of other regulatory bodies." This planning policy principle has been re-confirmed in a number of legal cases including; Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association v West Sussex CC 2014.

Our comments on draft plan are as follows:
Vision and Strategic Objectives
UKOOG supports the vision of the minerals and waste plan. We agree with the need to minimise the impacts of onshore oil and gas developments, while ensuring no unacceptable adverse impacts on the amenity of local communities. The plan area is not covered under the latest Petroleum Exploration and Development License (PEDL) round as it was not identified as a region of interest for onshore oil and gas operators.
By developing onshore oil and gas - the UK can reduce the carbon footprint of the fuel consumed by homes and businesses and improve the UK's energy security by strengthening supply resilience in the advent of disturbance to supply.
Policy MW4: Climate Change Policy and adaption
UKOOG supports MW4 and its recognition that the mitigation measures required would apply to onshore oil and gas sites. However, the plan does not take into account the fact that onshore oil and gas sites are temporary uses of land, with drilling, workover or stimulation activities representing a small period over the life of the site. Therefore, the generation or sourcing of energy may not be practical in such circumstances (criterion c).
MP 12: Energy Minerals
MP 12:28: It is important that the Minerals Planning Authority refer to national guidance, planning policy guidance and relevant written ministerial statements as well as the development plan when considering applications.
MP12.30 states that 'all applications for oil and gas developments will be considered against the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations 2017'. This statement requires clarification because not all onshore oil and gas sites will fall under the scope of requiring an EIA.
MP 12 also states that applications should:
e. 'includes a full appraisal programme for the oil and/or gas resource, completed to the satisfaction of the Mineral Planning Authority; and
f. includes a development framework for the site, incorporating or supplemented by justification for the number and extent of the proposed production facilities and an assessment of the proposal's economic impacts.
Both of these points fall within the remit of the Oil and Gas authority (field development plans) and are therefore not material to a local planning committee.
Policy MP 12: Conventional and unconventional oil and gas development
There should not be a differentiation between unconventional and conventional oil and gas development. From a surface perspective, and therefore from a planning perspective - the difference is unnoticeable.
Similarly, the integrity of the underlying geological structure is a matter for the OGA and the EA - it should not be included as a planning criterion.
Please do not hesitate to get in contact if any of the above requires clarification

Comment

Preferred Options consultation document

Representation ID: 99000

Received: 30/10/2019

Respondent: Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk

Representation:

Fracking - Reference could be made to latest Government announcements about the potential restrictions / banning on this subject.

Full text:

Original response received 30.10 2019
Revised response received 18.12.2019

3. Implications for the Borough from sand and gravel and silica sand policies / areas
3.1 Tottenhill (Site 206 - West of Lynn Road) This is an extension of existing works. The Tottenhill sites would be worked sequentially to mitigate any cumulative impacts. Potentially acceptable subject to the requirements in the policy.

3.2 A site at East Winch (Site MIN06 Mill Drove, Middleton) is allocated for carstone extraction. Potentially acceptable subject to the requirements in the policy.

3.3 Silica sand - AoS's (E, F, J and I) and SIL01. The County Council concludes that Site SIL01 is suitable to allocate for silica sand extraction. Development will be subject to compliance with the relevant Minerals and Waste Local Plan Policies and Specific Site Allocation Policy SIL01. There are reasonable safeguards for the locality.

3.4 The AoS are the same as previously expressed in the Initial Consultation document. Silica sand is a nationally important industrial mineral, and as such, the County Council must make adequate provision for its extraction. However they are not able to find suitable sites for the quantity of sand required, especially having dropped a site at Shouldham / Marham. The AoS are large and the expectation is that a suitable location could be found within one of the areas. Without detailed further information or operator preferences, it is not possible to pinpoint a site and therefore assess the localised impacts. Whilst this may be unsatisfactory for local communities who fear the consequences of extraction, it does give a positive indication that the County Council is safeguarding land and narrowing down suitable sites. It would be unrealistic to seek to have no areas of search at all, and the Plan could be found 'unsound', which would not be of benefit to the area.

Policy MP13 Silica Sand Area of Search (AoS E - Shouldham Warren area) and Policy MP2 - Spatial Strategy for mineral extraction (including reference to Silica Sand Areas of Search, and buffer zones (clause e))
3.5 Policy MP13 provides a criterion based approach to potential development in Areas of Search, including Area E. The expectation is that various assessments about related impacts will be provided in support of any applications, covering matters such as archaeology, landscape etc. Heavy reliance is placed on the safeguards from supporting studies to achieve acceptable development.
The recent decision by Norfolk County Council (in respect of it's Environmental Policy - County Council 25 November) to support the planting of some 1 million trees over the next 5 years to mitigate for the effects of climate change suggests a significant policy shift in the important role that trees play in County Council operations. It is clear that much more attention needs to be given the retention of existing tree cover in any mineral extraction situation. Shouldham Warren is an extensive area of tree cover, with additional recreation opportunities. An elevated status needs to be given to this in the planning balance as to whether an Area of Search should be designated at Shouldham, the Borough Council view is that the County Council should remove the AoS for this reason.
Additionally, Policy MP2 provides a degree of protection for areas with defined characteristics. Clause a. refers to 'ancient' woodland. In view of the County Council decision referred to above, it would be appropriate to delete the word 'ancient', leaving an enhanced level of protection to woodland generally.
Conclusion on AoS E (Shouldham) - Taking into account the two proposed amendments to policies affecting the potential for extraction at Shouldham, and the significant additional constraints now evident, the AoS should be removed.
MP2 Clause e) - Whilst the hydrological catchment around Roydon Common and Dersingham Bog, is specifically mentioned in Policy MP2e for exclusion, the complex hydrology and geology of these extremely sensitive sites is not fully understood. These two habitats have been recognised through the Ramsar, SAC and SSSI designations as having protected status. The introduction of wider 1.5km buffer zones would better mitigate any risk.

3.6 Policy MP7 (relating to restoration and aftercare) suggests that preference will be given to enhancing biodiversity, green infrastructure, and high quality local landscapes. This approach is supported. Whilst not necessarily appropriate in all circumstances, tree planting on restored sites would be a useful additional boost to mitigate for climate change. It is proposed that an additional clause is added to this effect as a fifth bullet point in paragraph four to the policy.

4. Implications for the Borough from the NCC approach to proposed waste and other policies on 'energy minerals'.

4.1 NCC have reviewed the policies in the current plans and as with Minerals moved them on to an end date of 2036. One particular item is relevant to West Norfolk. This is the overall locational strategy for waste management facilities.
4.2 Main points:
* From Policy WP2 in the Preferred Options it would seem possible to locate waste management facilities away from the broad location that generated the waste. Thus necessitating potentially significant transport movements, and possibly generating resentment from recipient communities.
* Whilst not necessarily inappropriate for all types of waste where specialist facilities are needed, extremely careful thought should be given to general waste or significant quantities requiring movement.
* A better approach would seem to be one where the policy encouraged waste to be dealt with as near to the generating source as possible.
* It is suggested our original comments are still appropriate to make.
4.3 Incineration - For the avoidance of doubt, it would be helpful if the County Council could add text to explain the position whereby the County Council will not seek to procure incinerators within Norfolk.
The position of the Borough Council on incineration is clear from previous involvement in planning inquiries. A clear statement on the matter from the County Council in the Minerals and Waste Local Plan would avoid any uncertainty for residents.

4.4 Fracking - Reference could be made to latest Government announcements about the potential restrictions / banning on this subject.