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MPA welcomes publication of draft NPPF

Association broadly supports draft National Planning Policy Framework but has serious concerns on details

THE Mineral Products Association (MPA) has welcomed publication of the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and a number of initiatives it includes, including the generally pro-growth thrust of the document, the presumption in favour of sustainable development, the aim of shorter more strategic local plans and recognition that indigenous minerals are essential to support economic growth.

According to the MPA, these aspects sit comfortably with the Localism Bill, which addressed the exclusion of minerals development from neighbourhood plans and third party rights of appeal, which were essential measures to ensure a steady and adequate supply of minerals.

Commenting on the draft Framework, MPA chief executive Nigel Jackson said: ‘The draft NPPF certainly has met its aim of simplifying and reducing the volume of print in this complex area, although we have serious concerns on the detail and the legacy of the more effective elements of the current mineral planning system.

‘We are surprised that the NPPF has not yet completely clarified the future of the Managed Aggregate Supply System (MASS) and hope that this will be retained in some form, as implied in the draft.

‘We are also concerned at the potential wholesale loss of key mineral planning guidance notes, which could have serious long-term investment implications for the silica sand and cement industries already struggling under the weight of carbon, energy and other regulations, as well as having implications for technical matters relating to noise, dust and restoration on most quarry sites.

‘The draft also does not appear to have attempted to address the issue of waste planning, which normally goes hand in hand with minerals planning, at least in terms of policy.’

The MPA is pleased to see that, in the draft NPPF section on minerals, the crucial part landbanks have to play in ensuring mineral supply has been recognized, so long as there is a clear understanding of what is meant by the term ‘landbanks’ in the context of different minerals.

The Association is concerned, however, that mineral working seems to be treated as one of many ‘planning for places’ issues when it comes to defining sustainable development. Minerals can only be worked where they occur and therefore mineral planning is not simply an infrastructure issue – minerals are a prerequisite and are essential for the construction and manufacturing industries and the economy as a whole. The MPA believes that mineral planning must be prominent under the heading of ‘planning for prosperity’.

Mr Jackson said: ‘The MPA believes that the draft NPPF is a step in the right direction, but there is a considerable amount of fine-tuning to do and MPA looks forward to continuing to work with government to achieve the best-possible result for industry, the economy and the environment.’


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