MPA/RTPI Mineral Planning Conference
Bob Neill MP stresses: now it is ‘time to get on with implementation’ of mineral plans
MORE than 200 delegates from industry, local authorities and NGOs participated in three innovative interactive sessions on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the Review of Old Mineral Permissions (ROMPs) and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) at the MPA/RTPI Mineral Planning Conference at Edgbaston Cricket Ground on 17 May.
Highlight of the day was a presentation by Bob Neill MP (pictured), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, who also participated in a panel debate on the NPPF.
During his presentation, the Minister strongly endorsed the words of the Mineral Products Association’s chief executive: ‘Nigel [Jackson] made a very important point in his response to the NPPF to say that, for the whole approach to function effectively, now you’ve got to move on to local delivery of the plans and that is the next stage, as we see it, of the planning reforms...we now want to get on with implementation.’
Throughout the debates the urgent need for up-to-date mineral plans was emphasized and impressed upon the Minister, as were concerns over the time taken to deliver new mineral planning permissions.
This was felt by many to be due, at least in part, to increasing information requirements that, in reality, have little impact on the quality of decisions or outcomes.
Concerns were also expressed about the statutory ‘duty to co-operate’ outlined in the Localism Act – co-operation does not necessarily mean agreement and government needs to address this.
‘Although there is good support for the NPPF among planning authorities, industry and conservation bodies, it is now down to government to ensure that the NPPF delivers and we are glad that the Minister recognizes this,’ said Nigel Jackson.
The Minister expressed his gratitude for the highly constructive dialogue the MPA has with the Department for Communities and Local Government, and thanked industry and planners for their positive input to producing the NPPF.
‘I particularly want to thank both the MPA and the RTPI for the very constructive and balanced manner in which they have engaged with us in the preparation of the framework [NPPF] and throughout the time I have been a Minister,’ he said.