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Planning White Paper stings industry with increased costs

THE Quarry Products Association has raised serious concerns about the current Planning White Paper on the grounds that it will burden quarry operators with substantially increased costs when making new planning applications or appeals.

The White Paper, released at the end of May, sets out proposals that could see costs for planning applications rise by at least 40% and, in the case of larger sites, by well over 100% if plans to remove the current £50,000 cap go ahead. It also opens the door for individual mineral planning authorities to levy their own charges rather than basing fees on a national tariff. Even a small variation to an existing permission could cost an operator in excess of £100,000, according to the White Paper.

Moreover, the QPA warns that alongside initial application cost hikes, planning appeals could also be subject to unwelcome fees, increasing the cost of securing permissions still further. The Association says that at a time when replenishment rates on aggregate sites are already running at about half of what is needed to maintain long-term supply, these increased costs would be counterproductive.


A further blow has been dealt by the Chancellor, who has restated his intention to introduce the planning gain supplement (PGS), creating a situation where new sites and extensions suffer potentially massive initial or additional costs. The QPA says this would have a particularly acute effect in some areas of the country when competing with existing sites that hold longer-term reserves.

Simon van der Byl, director general of the QPA, said: ‘Recent reforms have failed to improve the operation of the planning system and this does not create a happy situation for minerals operators. Quarriers are set to suffer from the barrage of new and increasing fees that appear to be arriving from all corners of government, and this is further compounded by the proposed PGS.

‘With the Minerals Policy Statement underlining the importance of our managed aggregate supply system, it beggars belief that the Government is proposing to make aggregate suppliers’ lives even more difficult with these unjustifiably high charges.’

The full Planning White Paper together with a summary version and consultation document can be accessed by clicking on the link below. Consultation is open until 17 August 2007.



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