North Yorkshire’s planning authorities have reached the next key stage in preparing a policy which will form the basis for important minerals and waste development decisions over the next 15 years.
The draft plan sets out new policies for minerals and waste development, such as quarries and recycling facilities, to help the three planning authorities take decisions on future planning applications for these types of development.
The plan also identifies a number of sites where future development for minerals and waste purposes is likely to be acceptable in principle.
The North Yorkshire area is rich in mineral resources such as sand and gravel, limestone and natural gas and there is a long history of mining and quarrying. In some areas the jobs and economic benefits of mineral extraction are an important part of local community life. Large amounts of waste are also produced and need to be managed in ways that are less harmful to the environment than landfill.
North Yorkshire is also rich in high-quality landscapes and the historic built environment and includes two National Parks, four areas of outstanding natural beauty and a Heritage Coast. Therefore, it is especially important to ensure that the working of essential minerals, and the management of waste, takes place without causing harm to these special areas.
The new policies are intended to put in place a high level of protection for the environment and for local communities while acknowledging Government policy support for minerals extraction and waste management sites to meet society’s needs for economic growth and development.
Government is now encouraging exploration and development of new sources of gas supply such as shale gas and there is current commercial interest in this in North Yorkshire. Preparation of the new Minerals and Waste Plan is not directly related to the current proposals by Third Energy for shale gas at Kirkby Misperton, which is expected to be decided before the new plan is finalised in early 2017, but the plan does provide an opportunity to update local planning policies to help deal with any future applications of this type should they be received.
Following an earlier round of consultation in 2014, the first full draft of the new plan will soon be out for further comment.
County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Planning said:
The plan will form the basis for important decisions on these matters for the next 15 years. We will soon be consulting on the first full draft and will be welcoming local residents and other interested organisations to tell us their views.