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Government support for aggregates planning process

Mineral Products Association welcomes confirmation of need for adequate and steady supply of aggregates

THE Mineral Products Association (MPA) has welcomed confirmation of government support on the need for the future mineral planning system to operate so that sufficient aggregates are made available to support economic growth and development.

According to a recent government statement: ‘Mineral planning authorities will have responsibility for continuing to plan for an adequate and steady supply of aggregate minerals to support economic growth, and they should do this within the longstanding arrangements for minerals planning. This includes receiving technical advice from Aggregate Working Parties, whose members include officers from mineral planning authorities and the minerals industry. DCLG is working with the minerals industry and local government to agree how aggregate minerals planning arrangements should operate in the longer term.’

The MPA believes it is essential that the emerging National Planning Policy Framework recognizes the important role that the Managed Aggregate Supply System (MASS) has performed over the last 35 years and could continue to fulfil in the future as a vital component of a more ‘localist’ approach to strategic planning for aggregates supply.

The Association also stresses that local development plan provision is still too slow and too low, with less than 25% of documents in place some four years after full coverage was required. It says permitted reserves, particularly sand and gravel, are still declining year on year with 42% of sand and gravel landbanks now less than the minimum seven years required and getting lower, while replenishment rates continue to remain below parity at around 60%.

‘Although the impact of the recession will take the pressure off some areas where reserves are under strain, there is no room for complacency. With use of recycled and secondary aggregates pretty much at maximum, future demand will continue to be largely dependent on primary land-won aggregates,’ said MPA chief executive Nigel Jackson.

‘The MPA will continue to lobby hard to protect its members’ interests while welcoming the presumption in favour of sustainable development and the generally pro-growth aims of the National Planning Policy Framework, but it will in future be publishing its own report on the performance of strategic supply issues in each mineral planning authority area. Its new ‘Offmin’ survey will produce annual league tables showing the key indicators in each county, such as plan progress, landbank and permitted reserves.

‘While the MPA is trying hard to work with the grain of ‘localism’, it is important that the actual outcomes from this emerging system are monitored closely to ensure that the mineral planning system continues to provide a steady and adequate supply of aggregates which is so essential to the construction and manufacturing industry and the economy. The MPA intends to do that monitoring.’


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