Introduction and Statement of Purpose
In a two-tier area such as Surrey the county council is the Minerals and Waste Planning Authority (MWPA) and responsible for the preparation of local plans and the determination of planning applications relating to minerals or waste management development [footnote 1]. For all other forms of development, the relevant district or borough council is the Local Planning Authority (LPA) for their area.
Mineral resources and waste management infrastructure are essential to supporting the wider economy. Therefore, when making plans or taking decisions, LPAs need to be aware of the potential for other forms of development to sterilise mineral resources or prejudice the operation of established or proposed minerals sites and infrastructure or waste management facilities. The policy of protecting minerals and waste management sites and facilities from such impacts is referred to as safeguarding.
Safeguarding is a material planning consideration, but it does not necessarily rule out other forms of development. Whether planning permission should be granted or not is a decision for the relevant LPA, to be made in consultation with the MWPA.
The purpose of this protocol is to set out the process by which the MWPA and LPAs will work together to ensure that minerals and waste safeguarding issues are taken into account as appropriate during the preparation of local plans and in the determination of planning applications. The protocol sets out:
- The types of applications about which LPAs should consult the MWPA.
- The range of consultation responses the MWPA will commit to provide to LPAs.
The protocol will be kept under review and will be updated to take account of changes to National or local policy with reference to minerals and waste safeguarding.
[Footnote 1] As set out in Schedule 1 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Town and Country Planning (Prescription of County Matters) (England and Wales) Regulations 2003 Surrey County Council is the County Planning Authority and minerals and waste management development are county matters.
National and Local Policy
Paragraph 212 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), revised in July 2021, advises that LPAs should not normally permit other development proposals in a Mineral Safeguarding Area (MSA) if it might constrain potential future use for mineral working. The National Planning Practice Guidance (nPPG) on minerals provides the following guidance for LPAs on their role in minerals safeguarding.
What is the role of the district council, as local planning authority, in safeguarding minerals?
Whilst district councils are not minerals planning authorities, they have an important role in safeguarding minerals in three ways:
- Having regard to the local minerals plan when identifying suitable areas for non-mineral development in their local plans. District councils should show Mineral Safeguarding Areas on their policy maps;
- In those areas where a mineral planning authority has defined a mineral consultation area, consulting the mineral planning authority and taking account of the local minerals plan before determining a planning application on any proposal for non-minerals development within it; and
- When determining planning applications, doing so in accordance with development policy on minerals safeguarding, and taking account of the views of the mineral planning authority on the risk of preventing minerals extraction.
The first bullet point in paragraph 8 in the National Planning Policy on Waste (NPPW), published in 2014 advises that when determining planning applications for non-waste development LPAs should, to the extent appropriate to their responsibilities, ensure that the likely impact of proposed non-waste development on existing waste management facilities, and on land allocated for waste management, is acceptable and does not prejudice the operation or provision of such facilities.
The safeguarding of mineral resources and associated minerals infrastructure and of waste management infrastructure and land allocated for waste development is supported by policy in the Surrey Minerals Plan Core Strategy 2011 (Policy MC6) and in the Surrey Waste Local Plan 2020 (Policy 7).
Surrey Minerals Plan Core Strategy 2011
Policy MC6 – Safeguarding Mineral Resources and Development
Minerals safeguarding areas have been defined for resources of concreting aggregate, soft sand, silica sand, brick clay and fullers earth. The mineral planning authority will seek to prevent sterilisation of these resources by other development.
Local planning authorities will be expected to consult the mineral planning authority on any proposals for development that would:
- Prejudice the effective operation of sites that are currently in minerals use or permitted for such use, or
- Sterilise mineral resources on preferred areas for future minerals extraction, or
- Sterilised mineral resources within mineral safeguarding areas
As shown on their proposals maps.
Infrastructure and sites used, or proposed to be used, for minerals development – rail aggregate depots and sites for production of recycled and secondary aggregate – will be safeguarded. Local planning authorities will be expected to consult the mineral planning authority on proposals for non-mineral development in the consultation area around such sites.
Surrey Waste Local Plan 2020
Policy 7 – Safeguarding
The following sites, which may be required for waste development will be safeguarded:
- Allocated sites for waste development.
- Sites in existing waste use including wastewater and sewage treatment works (including those with temporary permission).
- Sites with permission for waste use but which have not been developed.
In accordance with the Consultation Protocol, local planning authorities must consult with the Waste Planning Authority on proposals for non-waste development on, or in proximity to, safeguarded waste sites.
Proposals for non-waste development in proximity to safeguarded waste sites must demonstrate that they would not prejudice the operation of the site, including through incorporation of measures to mitigate and reduce their sensitivity to waste operations. Proposals that would lead to loss of waste management capacity, prejudice site operation, or restrict future development of safeguarded sites should not be permitted unless it can be demonstrated by the applicant that either:
- The waste capacity and/or safeguarded site is not required, or
- The need for the non-waste development overrides the need for safeguarding, or equivalent, suitable and appropriate replacement capacity can be provided elsewhere in advance of the non-waste development.
Minerals and Waste Safeguarding in Local Plans
Sufficient provision for minerals resources and infrastructure and waste management are identified as matters that need to be addressed by strategic planning policies (NPPF, paragraph 20(b)). In a two-tier area such as Surrey, where responsibility for minerals and waste planning lies with the MWPA and strategic policies for all other aspects with LPAs, the duty to cooperate (NPPF, paragraphs 24-27) provides the means of ensuring that minerals and waste planning matters, including safeguarding, are taken into account in the preparation of local development plans.
With reference to the preparation of local development plans, LPAs should consult the MWPA when preparing main local plan documents and supplementary planning documents. The MWPA will be particularly interested in proposed site allocations (such as for housing or employment); policies that propose protections or designations for specific areas of land (for example changes to Green Belt boundaries); and how minerals and waste safeguarding principles are being applied. In commenting on the preparation of local development plans and supplementary planning documents the MWPA will provide advice about matters relating to mineral resources and infrastructure, waste management and safeguarding, and sustainable construction.
LPAs should include information about the location and extent of the following safeguarded areas and sites (or provide references to where such information can be found) within their local development plans:
- Preferred Areas and Areas of Search for minerals extraction as identified in the Surrey Minerals Plan Core Strategy 2011 (silica sand and brick clay) and Surrey Primary Aggregates DPD 2011 (sharp sand and gravel sites and soft sand).
- Mineral Safeguarding Areas as identified by Policy MC6 of the Surrey Minerals Plan Core Strategy 2011 and shown on the MWPA's map viewer.
- Two rail aggregate depots (at Woking and at Salfords) as identified by Policy MC16 of the Surrey Minerals Plan Core Strategy 2011 and as shown on the MWPA's map viewer.
- Sites allocated for permanent and temporary aggregate recycling use by Policy AR2 and Policy AR3 of the Surrey Aggregate Recycling Joint DPD 2013 and as shown on the MWPA's map viewer.
- Land allocated for future waste management development by Policy 11a and Policy 11b of the Surrey Waste Local Plan 2020.
The MWPA will seek to keep information about minerals and waste management sites and safeguarded areas of land on its map viewer up to date. LPAs will seek to keep the digital versions of their policies maps up-to-date with respect to minerals and waste safeguarding.
Consultations and other Development Management Matters
When to consult the Minerals and Waste Planning Authority (MWPA)
LPAs should consult the MWPA when dealing with planning applications that may raise minerals or waste safeguarding issues. Table 1 below sets out the circumstances in which the MWPA should be consulted.
For the purposes of this consultation protocol major development is defined as follows:
- Development involving the construction of 10 or more dwellings; or
- Development involving the construction of new floorspace of 1,000 square metres or more; or
- Development of a site with an area of 1 hectare or greater.
Table 1: When to consult the MWPA
|Minerals or waste assets
|Scale of development
|Location relative to minerals and waste asset
|Relevant safeguarding policy
|Established minerals sites, including hydrocarbon wellsites and aggregate recycling facilities
|Within 250m of minerals site boundary
|Surrey minerals plan core strategy DPD, Policy MC6, clause (i) of second paragraph and third paragraph
|Preferred Areas and Areas of Search
|Surrey minerals plan core strategy DPD, Policy MC6, clause (ii) of second paragraph
|Minerals Safeguarding Areas (excluding Preferred Areas and Areas of Search)
|Within the MSA
|Surrey minerals plan core strategy DPD, Policy MC6, clause (iii) of second paragraph
|Rail aggregate depots
|Within 100m of depot boundary
|Surrey minerals plan core strategy DPD, Policy MC6, third paragraph
|Sites allocated in the Surrey waste local plan – Policies 11a and 11b
|Surrey Waste Local Plan, Policy 7, Part A, clause (i)
|Sites in existing waste use including wastewater or sewage treatment works and site with temporary permission
|Within 250m of waste site boundary
|Surrey waste local plan, Policy 7, Part A, clause (ii)
|Sites with permission for waste use where development has yet to commence
|Within 250m of waste site boundary
|Surrey waste local plan, Policy 7, Part A, clause (iii)
How the MWPA will respond
The MWPA will respond to LPA consultations about planning applications within the relevant statutory timeframes, unless an extension is agreed with the LPA. The MWPA's response will generally fall within one of the following categories.
- Objection: Where significant safeguarding issues are identified or remain following identification, discussion, and negotiation. An objection may also be raised for other reasons including a lack of sufficient information to understand the implications of the proposed development in respect of minerals and waste management development in the county. In such cases the MWPA will provide reasons and/or evidence for raising objection. An objection may be raised on the basis that it could be withdrawn following the receipt of further information.
- No objection: Where the proposed development does not raise any concerns relating to minerals and waste management development in the county; where safeguarding issues are identified but where these are not considered significant; or where a previous objection has been overcome by a positive response from the applicant including commitment to the prior working of the mineral resource or other aspects of the scheme designed to mitigate mineral or waste safeguarding issues (for example orientation of buildings, high standard of noise insulation in new dwellings, landscaping, installation of acoustic fencing). Conditions may be recommended by the MWPA where these relate to good practice or are necessary to overcome an objection.
- No comment: Where the proposed development does not give rise to any concerns relating to minerals and waste management development in the county
Where minerals or waste safeguarding issues are raised during pre-application discussions with LPAs, applicants should be directed to the MWPA's standing advice on mineral safeguarding or sustainable construction as appropriate. Consideration of the MWPA's standing advice should help to reduce the risk of delay following submission of any planning application.
Where an applicant wishes to promote development of land situated within an MSA they may need to prepare a minerals assessment. Advice about such assessments is provided in the MWPA's standing advice on minerals safeguarding. A minerals assessment will provide information about the practicability and viability of prior mineral extraction minerals safeguarding issues. The MWPA recommends that the LPAs include the requirement for a minerals assessment in their local validation lists.
The MWPA's statutory remit is limited to land used for minerals and waste management development. Where unauthorised development involves breaches of both county and LPA matters within the same planning unit the LPA may address the breach subject to agreement with the MWPA. The MWPA is not able to take enforcement action against mixed-use developments but will provide advice and support to LPAs about minerals and waste management development where necessary.
Where the LPA becomes aware of breaches of planning control relating to minerals or waste management development, the breach should be brought to the attention of the MWPA as soon as possible. This can be done by contacting the MWPA's enforcement team firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing the MWPA's planning enforcement enquiry and complaint form.