Draft Nottinghamshire Minerals Local Plan

If you are having trouble using the system, please try our help guide.
  1. Strategic Policies

3.1. The strategic policies aim to deliver the vision and strategic objectives for future minerals development in Nottinghamshire and have been prepared to support and encourage sustainable development. They provide the strategic framework to ensure that the right amount of minerals development takes place in appropriate locations, and at the right time, whilst ensuring that amenity as well as the built, natural and historic environment is protected.

What you told us at the Issues and Options stage…

  • There was broad agreement with the strategic issues outlined in the issues and Options document.
  • Respondents were generally pleased to see restoration and safeguarding of minerals identified as a key strategic issue and that restoration proposals should be addressed at an early stage.
  • It is felt that protection of Nottinghamshire's high quality agricultural land should be included
  • It was suggested that the strategic issues should be broadened to minimise all adverse impacts of development, including on environmental and heritage features such as biodiversity, landscape, archaeology and communities.
  • The importance of minimising the adverse impacts on Nottinghamshire's communities has been highlighted, by protecting resident's quality of life and health impacts from impacts such as traffic, visual impacts, noise and dust.
  • Respondents felt that the supply and demand of aggregates must be carefully and transparently assessed,
  • Respondents felt that minimising impacts on communities should be a matter of priority.
  • Generally, respondents feel that the environment, wildlife and ecosystems should have greater weight in this section
  • Hydrocarbon development should be highlighted as a strategic issue.
  • Although minimising impacts on communities is raised, no mention is made of flood risk and its potential effects on quality of life.
  • The Minerals Safeguarding and Minerals Consultation areas provide a good overall position, however they need to be high on the agenda to ensure District and Borough Councils take account of them in their local plans.


SP1: Sustainable development

Introduction

3.2. National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) paragraph 14 states, that "at the heart of the NPPF is a presumption in favour of sustainable development, which should be seen as a golden thread running through both plan-making and decision-taking".

3.3. Paragraph 15 further continues that "all plans should be based upon and reflect the presumption in favour of sustainable development, with clear policies that will guide how the presumption should be applied locally".

Policy SP1 – Sustainable Development

  1. When considering development proposals the Council will take a positive approach that reflects the presumption in favour of sustainable development contained in the National Planning Policy Framework. The Council will work proactively with applicants jointly to find solutions which mean that proposals can be permitted wherever possible, and to secure development that improves the economic, social and environmental conditions in the area.
  1. Planning applications that accord with the policies in this Local Plan (and, where relevant, with policies in other plans which form part of the development plan) will be approved unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
  1. Where there are no policies relevant to the application or relevant policies are out of date at the time of making the decision the Council will grant planning permission unless material considerations indicate otherwise – taking into account whether:
    1. Any adverse impacts of granting planning permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against policies in the National Planning Policy Framework taken as whole; or
    2. Specific policies in that Framework indicate that development should be restricted.

Justification

3.4. The NPPF sets out the planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied. It confirms that the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development along the three dimensions of economic, social, and environmental sustainability. The Framework makes it clear that these roles are mutually dependent and that Local Plans are the key to delivering sustainable development. Local Planning Authorities, when plan-making, are advised to positively seek opportunities to meet objectively assessed development needs, with sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change.

3.5. The NPPF indicates that proposed development in accordance with an up-to-date Local Plan should be approved without delay, and proposed development that conflicts with the Local Plan should be refused unless other material considerations indicate otherwise. Policy SP1 above is consistent with the NPPF requirements on decision-taking.

3.6. It is a national planning objective that planning, including planning for mineral development supports the transition to a low-carbon economy, taking into account flood risk, water supply and changes to biodiversity and the landscape. All new mineral development proposals will be expected to be planned from the outset to avoid increased vulnerability to the range of impacts resulting from climate change, care will need to be taken to ensure any potential risks can be managed through suitable adaptation measures.

This policy helps meet the following objectives:

SO1: Improving the sustainability of minerals development

View Comments (28) (28) Question 2

What do you think of the draft strategic policy forsustainable development?

SP2: Minerals Provision

Introduction

3.7. Minerals are essential to support economic growth and quality of life by providing the raw materials to create new infrastructure, buildings and goods as well as providing energy and a source of local jobs. Nottinghamshire is rich in minerals and supplies a wide range of markets both regionally and nationally. In line with national policy, it is important to identify suitable reserves to provide a steady and adequate supply of minerals to meet future needs.

3.8. Minerals are a finite natural resource and can only be worked where they are found. It is therefore essential that the best use of available resources is made in order to secure their long-term conservation. Within Nottinghamshire the priority is therefore to extend existing sites, in preference to developing new sites, and to encourage the use of secondary and recycled aggregates far as possible (see Policy MP5) and safeguard important resources from sterilisation (see Policy DM13).

3.9.

Policy SP2 – Minerals Provision

  1. The strategy for the supply of minerals in Nottinghamshire is as follows:
    1. Identify suitable land for mineral extraction to maintain a steady and adequate supply of minerals during the plan period;
    2. Give priority to the extension of existing sites, where economically, socially and environmentally acceptable;
    3. Allow for development on non-allocated sites where a need can be demonstrated; and
    4. Ensure the provision of minerals in the plan remains in-line with wider economic trends through regular monitoring.
  1. All proposals for mineral development must demonstrate that they have prioritised the avoidance of adverse social, economic and environmental impacts of the proposed development. Where planning permission is granted, appropriate mitigation and compensation measures will be required.

Justification

3.10. To ensure that adequate and steady supplies can be maintained the National Planning Policy Framework sets out specific requirements for the different types of minerals according to their end use and the need to maintain a landbank of permitted reserves for certain minerals. Where the existing level of reserves is not sufficient for the plan period, the Minerals Local Plan must identify suitable land to meet the expected shortfall. As part of preparing this plan, the Council has carried out a detailed assessment of its remaining permitted mineral reserves and identified where additional reserves should be provided. Therefore, alongside the strategic position set out in policy SP2 above, polices MP1 – MP12 make specific provision for each of the minerals which are likely to be worked in Nottinghamshire during the plan period.

3.11. Extending existing sites, where feasible, is considered to be more sustainable than developing new sites. This can be more efficient as the existing site access and processing plant can be used to recover mineral that may not otherwise be worked and the environmental impacts are generally less than those associated with opening up a new site. However it is important that the potential cumulative impacts of continuing minerals development are considered in all cases. All new proposals, whether allocated or otherwise, will need to be assessed in terms of their impact on local communities and the environment including matters such as landscape, heritage, biodiversity and climate, and what contribution they would make to achieving local and national biodiversity targets. These issues are set out in more detail within the detailed development management polices DM1-17 which provide appropriate safeguards for the location, operation, restoration and after-use of future minerals sites.

This policy helps meet the following objectives:

SO2: Providing an adequate supply of minerals

View Comments (48) (48) Question 3

What do you think to the draft strategic policy forminerals provision?

SP3: Biodiversity-Led Restoration

Introduction

3.12. Nottinghamshire County Council promotes a restoration led approachwhen considering proposed mineral workings. It is seen as vital that the restoration and future use of the land is addressed at the outset not just at the pre-application discussion stage of preparing planning applications.

3.13. The County Council aims to ensure mineral sites are reclaimed in a way that seeks to maintain and significantly enhance the County's diverse environment and biodiversity, in line with Local Plan Strategic Objective 6.

3.14. Restoration has to be seen as an integral part of the management of the whole extraction process and phasing. This includes biodiversity, landscape, and recreational opportunities. This does not mean placing an added onus or burden upon the minerals industry, rather it ensures that the right restoration solutions are formulated and opportunities are realised.

Policy SP3 – Biodiversity-Led Restoration

  1. Restoration schemes that seek to maximise biodiversity gains in accordance with the targets and opportunities identified within the Nottinghamshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan and Biodiversity Opportunity Mapping Project will be supported.
  1. Where appropriate, schemes will be expected to demonstrate how restoration will contribute to the delivery of Water Framework Directive objectives.
  1. Restoration schemes for allocated sites should be in line with the relevant Site Allocation Development Briefs contained within Appendix 3.

Justification

3.15. The Government's Natural Environment White Paper (2011) places the value of nature at the centre of the choices that are made ensuring that the environment is enhanced and economic growth and personal wellbeing is taken into account. Once minerals extraction sites have fulfilled their primary purpose of providing mineral, the restoration of such sites can have a major environmental benefit. There is considerable potential to create large new areas of habitat and to improve the links between existing fragmented areas of habitat.

3.16. The restoration of mineral sites therefore has an important role to play in meeting targets for the creation of new habitat, both nationally and locally. Nationally the RSPB estimates that minerals restoration schemes could meet, or in some cases, exceed the targets for a number of Habitats of Principal Importance for Conservation in England. These supersede what were previously known as UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) priority habitats.

3.17. The restoration of mineral voids offers a significant opportunity for the establishment or re-establishment of priority habitats, particularly through providing re-created linkages between fragmented blocks of specific habitat types and with river floodplains, where appropriate, thereby strengthening and enhancing ecological networks.

3.18. Whilst new habitat has been delivered in Nottinghamshire through minerals restoration schemes in the past, a more systematic approach offers far greater opportunities. With careful planning at an early stage, the level of high-quality habitat delivered by mineral extraction can be increased, creating valuable places for both wildlife and people and contributing to the delivery of landscape-scale conservation, supporting initiatives such as the RSPB's Futurescapes and the Wildlife Trusts' Living Landscapes.

3.19. This landscape-scale approach seeks to look beyond small protected sites to deliver nature conservation on a larger scale across the countryside. The Trent and Idle Valleys are considered to be a key area for such a landscape-scale approach with opportunities for cross-boundary action between Minerals Planning Authorities to enable a coordinated, strategic approach to maximise the restoration potential of individual sites.

3.20. By creating new habitats, and contributing to landscape-scale nature conservation, considerable progress can be made towards creating a countryside that is more permeable to wildlife by establishing linkages, stepping stones and corridors of habitat and more coherent ecological networks which are more resilient to future pressures such as climate change and which allow the movement and dispersal of wildlife species.

3.21. National targets for the creation of priority habitats are set out in the Government's 'Biodiversity 2020' strategy and these are broken down by the different National Character Areas (NCAs) identified by Natural England. Within Nottinghamshire there are eight NCAs including the Sherwood NCA and the Trent and Belvoir Vales NCA. At the local level, the County Council is a signatory to the Nottinghamshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) that aims to aid the recovery of threatened priority habitats and species.

3.22. Minerals extraction, particularly sand and gravel extraction in the Trent Valley, but also the extraction of resources in other parts of the County, can contribute significantly towards meeting these targets and add to the success of existing wetland restoration schemes. Restoration schemes should be carefully considered so that they can deliver as much LBAP priority habitat as possible and that such habitats are appropriate to the relevant National Character Area. Applicants are therefore encouraged to engage in early discussions with the County Council and other appropriate bodies in relation to restoration proposals.

3.23. Priority habitats that should be created or restored/enhanced in the Trent and Idle Valleys are:

  • Floodplain Grazing Marsh;
  • Reedbed;
  • Marsh and Swamp;
  • Lowland Fen;
  • Wet Woodland;
  • Other habitats such as Lowland Neutral Grassland and Mixed Ash-dominated Woodland may also be appropriate in some cases, and there are also potential opportunities for Lowland Dry Acid Grassland and Oak-birch Woodland in some eastern areas of the Trent Valley.

3.24. Priority habitats that should be created or restored/enhanced in the Sherwood Sandstone area are:

  •  Lowland Heathland;
  • Lowland Dry Acid Grassland;
  • Oak-birch Woodland;
  • Other habitats such as Marsh and Swamp may also be appropriate in some cases.

3.25. Priority habitats that should be created or restored/enhanced in the Magnesian Limestone area are:

  • Lowland Calcareous Grassland;
  • Mixed Ash-dominated Woodland;
  • Other habitats such as Marsh and Swamp may also be appropriate in some cases.

3.26. LBAP priority habitats in areas where the extraction of clay, gypsum and coal takes place should reflect those habitats occurring in the vicinity and will differ depending on locality. More generally, other habitats, including Ponds and Hedgerows, can be incorporated into most restorations independent of location. It is also expected that Eutrophic Standing Waters will be created as a result of quarrying, although this habitat should be minimised as far as possible in favour of the other habitat types listed above.

3.27. As a principle, restorations should also seek to restore more extensive areas of a small number of habitats at any one site, rather than try to create smaller areas of many different habitats, so that the value of restored areas is maximised and future management is made easier. Habitats should be re-created that are appropriate to that Natural Character Area and optimal use should be made of the edaphic conditions on the site to create priority habitats. Within larger habitat types, there is also the potential for important micro-habitats.

3.28. It is recognised that in some cases, restoration for leisure uses or for agriculture may be appropriate. Nevertheless, such restorations can still be 'biodiversity-led', for example by ensuring that agricultural restorations reinstate native hedgerows with wide field margins, and create new areas of species-rich grassland, copses and ponds.

Water Framework Directive

3.29. The Humber River Basin Management Plan has been prepared by the Environment Agency under the Water Framework Directive which requires all countries throughout the European Union to manage the water environment to consistent standards. The Humber River Basin District is one of the most diverse regions in England, ranging from the upland areas of the Peak District, South Pennines and the North York Moors, across the Derbyshire and Yorkshire Dales and the fertile river valleys of the Trent and Ouse, to the free-draining chalk of the Wolds. Water supports these landscapes and their wildlife and pressures that the water environment faces need to be considered.

3.30. Minerals development can contribute towards meeting Water Framework Directive objectives, including by facilitating improvements to water quality, riverine habitats, floodplain reconnection and improving the status of fish populations, and restoration schemes will be expected to contribute towards these objectives, where appropriate.

This policy helps meet the following objectives:

SO6: Protecting and enhancing natural assets

View Comments (27) (27) Question 4

What do you think of the draft strategic policy forbiodiversity led restoration?


SP4: Climate Change

Introduction

3.31. The Government is committed to tackling the causes of climate change and planning can play a key role in securing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, minimising vulnerability and providing resilience to the impacts of climate change. This is central to the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Nottinghamshire County Council is committed to reducing the impact from development on climate change.

3.32. All new development, including minerals extraction, should therefore seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid increased vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, including flooding, where practicable.

Policy SP4 – Climate Change

  1. All minerals development, including site preparation, operational practices and restoration proposals should minimise their impact on the causes of climate change for the lifetime of the development. Where applicable development should assist in the reduction of vulnerability and provide resilience to the impacts of climate change by:
    1. Being located, designed and operated to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, withstand unavoidable climate impacts and move towards a low-carbon economy;
    2. Avoiding areas of vulnerability to climate change and flood risk. Where avoidance is not possible, impacts should be fully mitigated;
    3. Developing restoration schemes which will contribute to addressing future climate change adaptation, including through biodiversity and habitat creation, carbon storage and flood alleviation.

Justification

3.33. The Nottinghamshire Sustainable Community Strategy (SCS) is committed to taking a sustainable approach to planning development that responds to the challenges of climate change and takes wider environmental considerations into account when making decisions about the location, nature and size of new development.

3.34. The nature and scale of new minerals development will influence the extent to which climate change resilience measures will be most effective and appropriate. Mineral development can provide a number of opportunities to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of future climate change.

3.35. This could include:

  • Restoration of mineral sites and restoration schemes that include measures such as flood water storage, the creation of biodiversity habitats, living carbon sinks, and wider ecosystem services
  • The use of on-site renewable energy installations
  • The use of energy efficient plant
  • The use of sustainable modes of transport, low emission vehicles, travel plans
  • Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), water efficiency and adaptive responses to the impacts of excess heat and drought

3.36. Other measures may include the sustainable use of resources through the use of recycled and secondary aggregates in the construction industry.

3.37. This policy does not presume against the future extraction of energy minerals. Indigenous mineral extraction has potential benefits in environmental and climate change terms.

This policy helps meet the following objectives:

SO3: Addressing climate change

View Comments (21) (21) Question 5

What do you think of the draft strategic policy forclimate change?

SP5: Sustainable Transport

Introduction

3.38. Most minerals extracted in Nottinghamshire are currently transported by road, as this often the cheapest and most flexible way of serving a diverse range of markets. Historically some sand and gravel has been transported by barge and there may be potential for some minerals to be moved by water or rail in future.

3.39. Minerals development therefore has the potential to generate large volumes of HGV traffic which can have adverse impacts on local communities in terms of noise, air pollution, vibration and dust. Increased levels of traffic can also cause potential safety issues for other road users and increase the level of greenhouse gas emissions impacting on the climate.

3.40. When dealing with proposals for future mineral extraction consideration needs to be given to the distances over which minerals need to be transported, how they are to be transported, and assess the likely impacts on the natural and built environment, climate, local amenity and quality of life. In order to minimise any possible transport related impacts, alternative, more sustainable forms of transport will be encouraged.

Policy SP5 – Sustainable Transport

  1. All mineral proposals should seek to maximise the use of sustainable forms of transport, including barge and rail.
  1. Where it can be demonstrated that there is no viable alternative to road transport, all new mineral working and mineral related development should be located as follows:
    1. within close proximity to existing or proposed markets to minimise transport movement; and
    2. within close proximity to the County's main highway network and existing transport routes in order to avoid residential areas, minor roads, and minimise the impact of road transportation.
  1. Proposals requiring the bulk transport of minerals, minerals waste/fill or materials/substances used for the extraction of minerals by road will be required to demonstrate that more sustainable forms of transport are not viable.

Justification

3.41. Minerals in Nottinghamshire are predominantly transported by road, generating significant HGV movements which can impact on local amenity, environmental quality and climate issues. The National Planning Policy Framework highlights the importance of reducing both greenhouse gases and congestion. Consequently, developments which generate significant movement should be located so as to minimise the need for travel and maximise the use of sustainable means of transport.

3.42. Wherever possible therefore, minerals sites should be located close to their end market in order to minimise overall transport distances. However, this will not always be feasible where the site is needed to supply a regional or national market and so the promotion of alternative, more sustainable forms of transport such as barge or rail transport is important.

3.43. Sand and gravel is a relatively low cost mineral and is not generally cost effective to transport over long distances. However, it can be transported economically over long distances by water. Barge transport has historically been used to transport sand and gravel along the River Trent to Yorkshire and Humberside from Besthorpe quarry north of Newark. Studies have shown there is potential to increase water-borne freight on parts of the river. However, restrictions on barge sizes upstream of Cromwell Lock may restrict the viability of barging minerals downstream to Nottingham.

3.44. Rail transport of minerals is possible, but expensive, and therefore only likely to be viable over very long distances. Its potential use will also depend upon on whether there is sufficient infrastructure and capacity on the rail network. Pipelines and conveyors can be used to move minerals on-site from the extraction area to the processing plant reducing the need to use heavy machinery minimising noise and dust. In certain cases it may be possible to use conveyors or pipelines to import fill materials such as power station ash on to quarries as part of the restoration although this is only possible if the source of the material is close by.

3.45. Where road transport is necessary, sites should be located close to the main highway network in order to minimise potential impacts on local communities and Nottinghamshire's environment. In line with national policy, proposals should be accompanied by a Transport Assessment or Transport Statement to set out the transport issues associated with the proposed development and what measures will be needed to manage those issues. This may include improvements to the existing transport infrastructure to improve junction visibility or vehicle capacity, or the use of routeing agreements to control traffic movement and direct vehicles away from sensitive areas such as residential areas or important habitats. This can be achieved by the use of planning conditions or legal (S106) agreements where appropriate (see Policy DM11). Policy DM9 considers highway safety and vehicle movements/routeing in more detail.

This policy helps meet the following objectives:

SO1: Improving the sustainability of minerals development

SO3: Addressing climate change

SO5: Minimising impacts on communities

View Comments (31) (31) Question 6

What do you think of the draft strategic policy forsustainable transport?


SP6: The Built, Historic and Natural Environment

Introduction

3.46. Mineral extraction by its very nature can have a detrimental impact on the natural and built environment, albeit temporary in nature. Nevertheless, mineral extraction can also bring about many environmental benefits. The restoration of worked out quarries can significantly increase biodiversity, provide increased access and recreational opportunities or return the land to agriculture.

Policy SP6 – The Built, Historic and Natural Environment

All mineral development proposals will be required to deliver a high standard of environmental protection and enhancement to ensure that there are no unacceptable adverse impacts on the built, historic and natural environment unless it can be demonstrated that there is an overriding need for a development and any impacts can be adequately mitigated and/or compensated for. The consideration of adverse impacts will include effects upon:

  • International, national, regional and local nature conservation sites and priority habitats and species as identified in the Nottinghamshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan;
  • Sites of geological interest;
  • Heritage assets (designated and non-designated) and their setting, and other cultural assets;
  • Landscape and townscape character;
  • Best and most versatile agricultural land and soil;
  • Flood risk;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Highways;
  • Community amenity; and
  • Water quality (including groundwater) and water provision and air quality.

Justification

Nature conservation

3.47. The County contains important habitats and species and it is essential these areas are maintained for future generations. The most important areas are protected by international, national or local designations. At present the County has 1 Special Area of Conservation (SAC), 1 National Nature Reserve (NNR), 67 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), 64 Local Nature Reserves (LNR), over 1400 Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) (formally known as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) and around 130 Local Geological Sites (formally known as Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGs).

3.48. Outside these designated sites, areas of habitat and populations of species of national conservation importance also exist; Habitats of Principal Importance for Conservation in England ('Habitats of Principal Importance') are those identified through Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (2006); similarly, this legislation also identifies Species of Principal Importance for Conservation in England ('Species of Principal Importance'). A number of additional species and habitats are also identified as local conservation priorities through their inclusion in the Nottinghamshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP).

3.49. It is therefore important to ensure that new minerals development is correctly managed and that no adverse impacts occur to designated sites, or priority habitats and species, as far as possible. Policy SP3 promotes a biodiversity-led restoration approach which seeks to maximise the biodiversity gains resulting from the restoration of mineral sites.

Geology

3.50. As well as those sites designated specifically for their nature conservation interest, the County also has130 Regionally Important Geological/ Geomorphological sites (RIGs). Some of these sites have come about as a result of mineral working and it is important that future minerals development conserves and, where possible, enhances such sites.

Heritage and cultural assets

3.51. Nottinghamshire is not only rich in minerals, but also has an extensive historic environment. Mineral extraction by its very nature can destroy archaeological sites and features, however, where sites are properly investigated and recorded it can provide major opportunities to understand the County's rich archaeological heritage and what they say about the past.

3.52. There are currently over 18,000 archaeological sites and historic features in Nottinghamshire registered on the Historic Environment Record, including:

National designations:

  • 3,700 listed buildings
  • Over 150 scheduled monuments
  • 19 Registered Parks and Gardens
  • 1 Battlefield

Local designations:

  • 174 Conservation Areas
  • Creswell Crags (which straddles the boundary between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire) is also reorganised for its international importance as this is currently on the UNESCO tentative list for Inscription as a World Heritage Site

3.53. Mineral extraction may affect the setting of heritage assets, be they buried remains, buildings, landscapes or places and extraction can cause change in the character of the landscape.

3.54. A recent research project looking at aggregate resources in Nottinghamshire and the archaeological remains they contain revealed that discoveries within mineral workings have yielded a wealth of new information about the Iron Age and Roman periods in the Trent and Idle Valleys. The report also highlights the fact that other areas outside the Trent and Idle Valleys are currently poorly understood in archaeological terms due to the lack of archaeological investigation.

3.55. The Strategic Stone study for Nottinghamshire (2013) undertaken by the British Geological Survey (BGS) highlighted the wide variety of local stones that have been quarried in the past. These stones are a key component of the County's local distinctiveness and maybe required in the future for historic building repair or to allow sympathetic new development in historic areas.

3.56. National policy states that the significance of the most important heritage assets and their settings should be protected, and that balancing the need for development against potential harm to heritage assets needs to be proportionate.

Landscape

3.57. The landscape character of Nottinghamshire is complex and has been created from the interaction of natural and man-made influences, such as geology, soil, climate and land use. All landscapes hold value, with some having the potential to be improved and restored. Many mineral developments have the potential to change the landscape, but their restoration can also help to improve landscapes, especially those which may be of a lower quality.

3.58. In order to manage future landscape alterations Nottinghamshire County Council has completed a Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) which divides the County into eleven Landscape Character Areas, of which the Trent Washlands is particularly under pressure from minerals development. Each Landscape Character Area has a unique combination of elements and features making them distinct. The LCA can be used to provide special protection to a specific feature, identify suitable mitigation measures when loss is unavoidable and is valuable in the design of restoration schemes.

Agricultural land and soil

3.59. Much of the County's land is in agricultural use. It is a vital natural and economic resource that needs to be protected from unsuitable development.

3.60. Minerals development often involves large areas of land and is limited to areas where the mineral naturally occurs and agricultural land quality is often heavily influenced by the underlying geology. This means that a balance has to be made between the need for the mineral and the protection of the agricultural land. Land quality varies from place to place. The Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) provides a method for assessing the quality of farmland to enable informed choices to be made about its future use within the planning system. The ALC system classifies land into five grades, with Grade 3 subdivided into Subgrades 3a and 3b. The best and most versatile land is defined as Grades 1, 2 and 3a. The majority of sand and gravel extraction in the Trent and Idle Valleys will result in the substantial permanent loss of agricultural land to wetland which along, with other development pressures, is causing a continuous erosion of the County's finite agricultural resources. However, appropriate management and restoration of mineral workings can secure the safeguarding of best and most versatile soils.

Flooding

3.61. Flooding from rivers is a natural process that plays an important role in shaping the natural environment. However, flooding threatens life and causes substantial damage to property and infrastructure. Although flooding cannot be wholly prevented, its impacts can be greatly reduced through good planning and management. Such planning will have to take account of the impacts of potentially more extreme flood events.

3.62. National policy requires all local plans to take flood risk into account and where possible to direct development to areas of lower risk. For some minerals, especially alluvial sand and gravel, this may not always be possible and development in the floodplain will be unavoidable, as has occurred on a large scale in the Trent and Idle Valleys. Priority should be given to those options that pose the least risk and/or provide opportunities to improve flood defences and flood storage capacity.

3.63. In order to appraise these risks the County Council has undertaken a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA). The aim of the SFRA is to map all forms of flood risk and use this as an evidence base to locate new development wherever possible in low flood risk areas.

3.64. Major flood risks exist along the Trent Valley and its tributaries and these risks may be increased by climate change.

3.65. Future mineral extraction within high risk areas is unlikely to be avoidable but mineral restoration schemes can in some cases provide opportunities to reduce flood risks.

Infrastructure

3.66. Nottinghamshire has an extensive physical network of transport, communications, water, energy, and waste infrastructure. Mineral working provides the raw materials to maintain much of this essential infrastructure but it is important that the process of mineral extraction does not compromise the operation of existing or planned future infrastructure. When considering development proposals, consultation with the utility companies, rail operators and other network providers will be required to identify potential risks and to ensure appropriate safeguards and/or mitigation measures. This is likely to include the need for appropriate stand-offs from overhead or underground transmission cables, buried or surface pipelines and rail infrastructure.

Highways

3.67. The majority of minerals are transported by road due to the relatively short distances to local or regional markets. Minerals proposals therefore need to take into account the likely impacts upon both the local highway network and nearby communities arising from increased levels of traffic. Potential impacts could include congestion, road safety, noise, dust, and vehicle emissions. National policy requires all development that is likely to generate significant amounts of movement to be accompanied by a Transport Assessment or Transport Statement which should include details of how potential impacts will be minimised. However development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the residual cumulative impacts are severe. Further details in relation to potential impacts on highway safety and vehicle movements are set out in Policy DM9.

Community amenity

3.68. Minerals extraction by its very nature can have significant effects on the existing environment and the amenity of those living nearby and visiting Nottinghamshire. It is therefore important that proposals for new minerals development take into account the potential issues to ensure that where possible they are avoided in the first instance. Potential impacts include noise, dust, increased levels of traffic and loss of landscape. Further details in relation to potential impacts on amenity are set out in Policy DM1.

3.69. National guidance seeks to ensure that the environmental effects of minerals extraction such as noise and dust should be controlled, mitigated or removed at source. This includes information on the proximity of minerals workings to communities, dust emissions and noise standards limits.

Water

3.70. Minerals development by its very nature will at some point affect surface and or ground water resources. This could be as a result of pumping water from areas where mineral is worked below the water table or where mineral is extracted in the flood plain. These activities could have impacts on a much wider area than just the boundary of the proposal. It is therefore important that these impacts are avoided and reduced through good design and site management.

3.71. Under the Water Framework Directive, the environmental objectives for groundwater and surface water bodies are:-

  • To prevent deterioration in the status of water bodies, improve their ecological and chemical status and prevent further pollution.
  • Aim to achieve good quantitative and good groundwater chemical status by 2015 in all water bodies. For a groundwater water body to be in overall 'good' status, both its quantitative and chemical status must be 'good'- Implement actions to reverse any significant and sustained upward trends in pollutant concentrations in groundwater
  • Comply with the objectives and standards for protected areas where relevant
  • Hazardous substances must be prevented from entry into groundwater and the entry into groundwater of all other pollutants must be limited to prevent pollution. Water supply and the disposal of sewage and foul water from any site should be discussed with the relevant water company and the Environment Agency to ensure no deterioration of surface water or groundwater quality.

3.72. This approach is important for Nottinghamshire as the County is situated on Principal and Secondary Aquifers. These are layers of rock or drift deposits that provide a high level of water storage. They may support water supply and/or river base flow on a strategic scale. Secondary aquifers are permeable layers capable of supporting water supplies at a local rather than strategic scale, and in some cases forming an important source of base flow to rivers.

Environmental Impact Assessment

3.73. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations require an assessment of the likely significant environmental effects of some minerals development. EIA is undertaken by developers as a means of drawing together, in a systematic way, an assessment of the likely significant environmental effects of certain types of minerals proposals.

3.74. Where there is a possibility that a proposed mineral development will require an EIA, developers are advised to consult the County Council well in advance of a planning application, and formally request an opinion on whether an EIA is required and, if so, the scope of such an assessment.

This policy helps meet the following objectives:

SO6: Protecting and enhancing natural assets

SO7: Protecting and enhancing historic assets

View Comments (34) (34) Question 7

What do you think of the draft strategic policy forthe built, historic and natural environment?


SP7: The Nottinghamshire Green Belt

Introduction

3.75. The Nottingham -Derby Green Belt covers the southern part of the County and comprises of an area of more than 43,000 ha and covers land around Greater Nottingham, Nottingham City and rural village areas. The Green Belt was principally designated to prevent coalescence between Nottingham and Derby.

Policy SP7 – The Nottinghamshire Green Belt

Within the Green Belt, minerals developments will be supported:

  • Provided that the openness of the Green Belt is preserved; or
  • Where very special circumstances can be demonstrated; and
  • Where the highest standards of development, operation and restoration will be undertaken to enhance the beneficial use of the Green Belt.

Justification

3.76. Minerals can only be worked where they are found, and in the south of the county sand and gravel is predominately found in the River Trent valley. This area of the county is also largely covered by the Nottinghamshire green belt.

3.77. National policy states that minerals extraction is not inappropriate provided the openness of the green belt is preserved and where it would not conflict with the purposes of including land in the green belt. The purposes of the Green Belt as defined in national policy include:

  • to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas;
  • to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;
  • to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment;
  • to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and
  • to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land

3.78. In many cases it is likely that suitably designed, landscaped and restored minerals workings can be accommodated in the greenbelt. Where proposals for extraction in the greenbelt are made, applicants should ensure that careful consideration has been given to the potential impact of the development on the openness of the Green Belt and the purposes of the relevant Green Belt designation. This is both the operational phase and could include the location, scale and impact from any associated plant and infrastructure and as part of the restoration scheme to ensure that the site is returned to a use compatible with Green Belt objectives.

This policy helps meet the following objectives:

SO6: Protecting and enhancing natural assets

View Comments (25) (25) Question 8

What do you think of the draft strategic policy forthe Nottinghamshire Green Belt?


SP8: Minerals Safeguarding, Consultation areas and Associated Minerals Infrastructure

Issues and Options Sustainability Appraisal findings:

  • Two options were appraised when considering what approach the plan should take towards the safeguarding of minerals.
  • In summary Option A: 'Safeguard all mineral resources' and option B: 'Safeguard economically important mineral resources' were considered to be equal in terms of their sustainability

Introduction

3.79. Minerals can only be worked where they are found. In the plan area, potential mineral working areas may be limited by landscape and environmental designations or existing settlements; there may also be competition from non-minerals development. The National Planning Policy Framework requires that known locations of specific minerals be safeguarded from needless sterilisation by non-minerals development (such as built development) and that where it is necessary for non-minerals development to take place, there should be prior extraction of the mineral where practicable and environmentally feasible.

Policy SP8: Minerals Safeguarding, Consultation Areas and Associated Minerals Infrastructure

Safeguarding Areas

  1. Economically important mineral resources and associated minerals infrastructurewill be safeguarded from needless sterilisation by non-mineral development through the designation of minerals safeguarding areas as identified on the Policies Map.
  1. Development within minerals safeguarding areas will have to demonstrate that mineral resources of economic importance will not be needlessly sterilised as a result of the development and that the development would not pose a serious hindrance to future extraction in the vicinity.
  1. Where this cannot be demonstrated, and where there is a clear and demonstrable need for the non-minerals development, prior extraction will be sought where practicable.

Consultation Areas

  1. District and Borough Councils within Nottinghamshire will consult the County Council as Minerals Planning Authority on proposals for non-minerals development within the designated Mineral Consultation Area, as shown on the Policies Map.

The Minerals Planning Authority will resist inappropriate development within the Minerals Consultation Areas.

Justification text


3.80. The Minerals Safeguarding Areas (MSA) identify the mineral resources which are worthy of safeguarding and the Minerals Consultation Area (MCA) identify the areas within Nottinghamshire where the District and Borough authorities are required to consult the Mineral Planning Authority over non-minerals development. The NPPF encourages the prior extraction of minerals before alternative uses are permitted. In Nottinghamshire the safeguarding and consultation areas are identical (with the exception of Colwick Wharf) and as such one map has been produced and is included on the Minerals Policies Map.

3.81. The mineral safeguarding approach does not seek to predict how much mineral is likely to be needed over the plan period but safeguards the viable mineral resource. Viability will change over time. With increasing scarcity, resources that are currently considered non-viable will become increasingly viable. However, the entire mineral resource is not safeguarded; it is only the most meaningful and best current estimate of viable resources which has been safeguarded for future assessment and possible use. See Plan 4 below.

3.82. For the purposes of safeguarding, Nottinghamshire has eight distinct mineral resources. These are:

  • Sand and gravel
  • Sherwood Sandstone
  • Alluvial Sand and Gravel;
  • Limestone(including building stone);
  • Industrial dolomite;
  • Brick Clay;
  • Gypsum;
  • Surface Coal

3.83. Not every non-mineral development proposal within or close to a Minerals Safeguarding and Consultation Areas represents a risk to future minerals extraction. The main risks will arise from proposals to extend built up areas and new development in the open countryside, as such; the following categories of development are exempt from both consultation and safeguarding:

  • Development which is in accordance with adopted District/Borough Local Plan allocations which took account of minerals sterilisation and where prior extraction is not feasible or appropriate;
  • Temporary development;
  • Householder planning applications (except for new dwellings);
  • All applications for advertisements;
  • Infill development;
  • Reserved matters; and

Prior notifications (telecoms, forestry, agriculture, demolition).

3.84. The British Geological Survey Resource Map (2013) provides information on the County's resources but excludes minerals that can only be worked by underground methods, such as deep mined coal, oil and gas and some gypsum deposits.

3.85. It is expected that the developer will carry out the necessary site investigations to prove the mineral resource. These will take into account factors such as the availability of the mineral, its relative scarcity, the timescale for the development going ahead, the possible extraction of the mineral and the viability of such extraction.

3.86. It is accepted that there may be circumstances where prior extraction may not be appropriate. In these cases the County Council would expect the developer to demonstrate that:

  • The mineral concerned is no longer of any value or potential value; or
  • There is an overriding need for the non-mineral development which outweighs the need for the mineral; or
  • The proposed non-minerals development site is located on the urban fringe and mineral extraction would be inappropriate in this location; or
  • The non-mineral development is of a minor nature as defined by the exemption criteria in paragraph 5.140.

3.87. Where prior extraction can be undertaken, an assessment should be undertaken to include an explanation of how this will be carried out as part of the overall development scheme.

3.88. Identification of minerals safeguarding areas does not provide a presumption in favour of working the mineral, and is not a guarantee that there is mineral present of viable quantity or quality. The Minerals Safeguarding and Consultation Areas are identified on the Minerals Policies Map and reflected in each Nottinghamshire District/Borough Adopted Local Plan Policies Maps.

3.89. The NPPF states that Mineral Planning Authorities , when preparing their plans should include policies to safeguard:

  • Existing, planned and potential rail heads, rail links to quarries, wharfage and associated storage, handling and processing facilities for the bulk transport by rail, sea or inland waterways of minerals, including recycled, secondary and marine dredged materials, and
  • Existing, planned and potential sites for concrete batching, the manufacture of coated materials and other concrete products, and the handling, processing and distribution of recycled and secondary aggregate mineral.

Wharfs

3.90. Nottinghamshire does not contain any rail heads and rail links to quarries, however, two wharfs are located within the County:

  • Besthorpe – this wharf is directly linked to Besthorpe quarry and has been used to transfer sand and gravel by barge to South Yorkshire.
  • Colwick – this is a general purpose wharf that has been used as a river dredging transfer facility. It has also been previously identified as a location to land sand and gravel from a previous quarry proposal at Shelford.

3.91. It is not considered appropriate to safeguard the Besthorpe Wharf as it is located in a remote greenfield location and is poorly connected to the road network should sand and gravel cease to be worked in this area in the future. However as Colwick Wharf is well located close to the built up area and is on an existing industrial estate it is considered necessary to identify it as part of the consultation areas.

Secondary Processing Facilities

3.92. Concrete batching plants, coated road stone and other minerals infrastructure provide materials to maintain both existing infrastructure and new developments. In Nottinghamshire these facilities are associated with concrete, mortar and asphalt plants which utilise sources of aggregates to make 'value added' products. The facilities are relatively small in nature and whilst some are located on existing mineral workings, other are stand-alone facilities on industrial estates in urban areas.

3.93. Due to the large number of these sites within the County and the majority of these being located on existing industrial estates, which are identified within District/Borough Local Plans, there is no indication that any individual plant is important in its own right. In addition, such plants are also physically relocatable and as such are considered non-strategic and will not be safeguarded by the County Council.

This policy helps meet the following objectives:

SO1: Improving the sustainability of minerals development

SO2: Providing and adequate supply of minerals

SO3: Addressing climate change

SO4: Safeguarding minerals resources

View Comments (29) (29) Question 9

What do you think of the draft strategic policy forMineral Safeguarding, Consultation Areas and associated minerals infrastructure?

Plan 4: Minerals Safeguarding and Associated Minerals Infrastructure

If you are having trouble using the system, please try our help guide.
back to top