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2020 / 2021 Edition

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MPA welcomes Select Committee report

MPA

Mineral Products Association pleased new report recognizes need for minerals in planning reform

THE Government’s proposed reforms to the planning system need to include minerals planning, according to a new Select Committee report that has been welcomed by the Mineral Products Association (MPA).

The Housing, Communities & Local Government Select Committee report into the future of planning in England points out that the Government’s proposals have omitted the potential implications for mineral planning among other areas.

Announced in August 2020, the proposed planning reforms focus almost entirely on housing delivery. Yet the Select Committee’s report, to which the MPA submitted evidence, has made it clear that planning is about much more than housing, which it says cannot be treated in isolation from other development such as mineral extraction.

The report identifies the absence of any consideration of the expected impact of the reforms on minerals planning and development – despite the huge volume of mineral products such as aggregates, concrete and asphalt that will be needed for housing. The Committee recommends that the Government addresses the shortcomings of the proposals before a Planning Bill is brought forward. 

Mark Russell, the MPA’s executive director of planning and mineral resources, said: ‘We welcome the Select Committee report and are pleased that this reflects many of the issues associated with the mineral planning system that were highlighted in the evidence provided by the MPA.

‘This includes the requirement for the planning system to be properly resourced. The Committee has rightly recognized that the planning system is about a lot more than housing, and the report acknowledges that the current arrangements are failing to provide sufficient replacement minerals.

‘The availability of the minerals our society needs cannot be assumed. The maintenance of a steady and adequate supply is essential to achieving the Government’s ambitions around housing delivery and infrastructure development, alongside their wider economic recovery ambitions. To support this, any proposed reforms must recognize the unique needs of the mineral planning system, rather than simply applying changes that are intended to address the desired outcomes for an individual sector.’

In its conclusion, the Select Committee report states: ‘We agree that the Government’s proposals omitted important issues that should be considered in any changes to the planning system. This was particularly true of the lack of consideration of non-housing issues. Different aspects of the planning system cannot be compartmentalised in this way. Housing cannot be treated in isolation from wider infrastructure, economic, leisure, and environmental activities and considerations. Therefore, in advance of a Planning Bill, the Government should include within consultations the expected impact of its proposed reforms to the planning system on:

  • The ‘levelling up’ agenda including the promotion of employment
  • The economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The high street
  • Addressing climate change and creating sustainable development
  • Bolstering sustainable transport
  • The delivery of commercial and industrial property, including leisure facilities, mineral extraction, and energy networks
  • Policies on social exclusion and on particular groups including Gypsy and Traveller Communities
  • The environment––in particular the proposed reforms to environmental impact assessments, the designation of protected areas and species, and the proposals for a net gain in biodiversity in the Environment Bill currently going through Parliament.’

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