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Future supply problems masked by current lack of demand

Nigel Jackson

Association welcomes Growth and Infrastructure Act but says concerns remain about future aggregates supply 

THE Mineral Products Association (MPA), which has repeatedly sought for the burden of planning to be reduced on its members and has specifically led the case for the re-evaluation of the current Review of Old Mineral Permissions (ROMPs) process and the ‘opt-in’ for mineral development, where members can choose whether to go for a national or local planning approach, says it welcomes the Growth and Infrastructure Act, which received Royal Assent last week.

This Act now gives mineral planning authorities the power to choose whether a review of old mineral permissions is necessary or not, and for the industry to elect whether to have a major mineral application classed as Nationally Significant Infrastructure and considered by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. According to the MPA, these are key positive changes that will reduce bureaucracy and cost.

 

However, although Association believes that the Growth and Infrastructure Act is a positive step, it says there is still a long way to go. The MPA cites the fact that most mineral plans are out of date – at the end of January 2013, less than 50% of mineral planning authorities in England had an adopted Core Strategy and six had not even started the process.

Moreover, average replenishment rates of aggregate reserves are continuing to decline – less than 50% of sand and gravel reserves were replenished in the last 10 years to 2010, and only around 67% of hard rock reserves.

Nigel Jackson (pictured), chief executive of the MPA, said: ‘Concerns remain about the maintenance of future supply. With too few plans, low landbanks, diminishing replenishment rates, increasing costs, and planning inertia fuelling uncertainty, we are storing up supply problems for the recovery. Lack of demand is masking underlying supply problems for the future.’

 

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