Background-2-Curbar-Edge.jpg

chapter9

peak district landscape
 

Minerals


 

Strategic context

9.1

Structure Plan Policies M1-10 set out the strategic context for both minerals and waste disposal. Waste disposal and recycling issues are dealt with in Chapter 10. Structure Plan Policy M1 states that no land will be allocated in this Local Plan for new mineral workings, extensions of existing workings, mineral processing, oil or gas operations or other ancillary development. There are, therefore, no mineral proposals shown on the Proposals Map. For information purposes only, the main existing quarries and mines are shown on Diagram 1 and a simplified indication of the geology of the Park appears as Diagram 2.

9.2

Structure Plan Policies M2 & M3 say that all proposals will be subject to the most rigorous examination and will be strictly controlled. Proposals will not be approved unless they are in the public interest and no reasonable alternative site or means of production is available. Major development will not be permitted "other than in exceptional circumstances" where it is essential to meet a 'national need'. The 'national need' for a particular case or mineral type is difficult to define in advance and the case for an exception will need to be judged carefully against circumstances at the time when the development is proposed. At the Examination in Public of the Structure Plan, considerable discussion took place over the relationship between mineral extraction and employment because the minerals industry makes a contribution to the economy in terms of direct and indirect employment. The outcome of the discussion was that the need for the mineral generates employment, but the need for employment does not justify mineral extraction in a National Park. Chapter 6 deals with employment.

9.3

Since the adoption of the Structure Plan there have been a number of changes in Government guidance. There has also been an increasing awareness of the importance of the environment and of sustainability. Recent guidance includes: Minerals Planning Guidance Note 1 with the latest advice on mineral planning issues; MPG2 on Applications, Permissions and Conditions; MPG4 on Revocation, Modification, Discontinuance, Prohibition and Suspension Orders; MPG5 on stability in surface mineral workings and tips; MPG6 which provides the basic framework for planning the provision of aggregates, plus specific guidance on the consideration of mineral development within National Parks; MPG7 on achieving effective reclamation; MPG14 which sets out the procedures to be followed for reviewing old mineral planning permissions as introduced by the Environment Act 1995; and MPG15 covering the provision of silica sand in England. New guidance is systematically considered by the National Park Authority. To date new guidance is compatible with the Structure Plan.

 

The environmental impact of mineral working

9.4

Mineral workings can harm the natural resources and valued characteristics of the National Park. These include landscape of national and international significance, recreational uses and activities, agricultural land, woodland, important water resources and areas or features of heritage or nature conservation interest. Mineral activity can also have a detrimental impact on local communities, bringing problems of noise, dust and heavy lorry traffic, sometimes over a period of many years. On the other hand, the industry does contribute to the landscape in the restoration of mineral sites.

9.5

Planning Policy Guidance Note 12 states that development plans should take environmental considerations comprehensively and consistently into account. It stresses the importance which people place on environmental issues such as clean air and water, nature and landscape conservation, and built heritage. Structure Plan Policies M3 and M5 provide the context for considering the need for the proposed development. The Local Plan sets out in greater detail the environmental criteria against which such development will be considered. The Conservation and Recreation chapters in the Structure and Local Plans set out policies for the protection of valued characteristics (eg the Natural Zone) and these will be applied rigorously to all development, including minerals. Structure Plan Policy M7 states that applicants will have to show that operating methods will minimise environmental impact, resolve land instability issues and ensure restoration. The responsibility is on operators to assess accurately their intended production in terms of the quality and quantity of the mineral, the extent of both the mineral and any ancillary operations, the required operating period and the restoration timetable. Any proposals for subsequent extension in terms of time or site area will also be rigorously examined.

9.6

If the proposed development is likely to have significant environmental effects (dependent on its size and sensitivity of the location, working methods and duration) an Environmental Impact Assessment will be required in accordance with European directives, government regulations (Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 1999) and guidance. Disturbance can be either short-term or permanent destroying irreplaceable features. Adjustments to the site area might help eliminate impacts or reduce them to an acceptable level, as can careful attention to landscaping and screening, measures to reduce noise and dust problems, and local highway and access improvements. Chapter 2 discusses how planning conditions, legal obligations, and monitoring and enforcement can ensure effective control of operations. It is also important to consider any wider benefits gained from the development, such as the reclamation of derelict land, the elimination of pollution, and the production of a vernacular building product for use in the area, which may outweigh adverse environmental aspects of the proposals.

9.7

Mineral permissions will be reviewed periodically under the provisions of the Environment Act 1995 and the Authority will aim to negotiate the best possible package to protect the interests of the National Park. New conditions and/or voluntary agreements will be sought to obtain improved schemes which will minimise the adverse effects of mineral working on the environment and secure restoration and aftercare in accordance with other policies within the Local Plan. Where necessary the Authority will amend submitted schemes through the imposition of conditions.

 

Nature conservation and heritage features

9.8

Proposals for mineral working which affect sites or features of known or potential nature conservation or heritage importance should be accompanied by an ecological or archaeological evaluation and an appropriate scheme of treatment. Irreparable damage might be caused if these features are within the proposed development area. In surrounding areas, there might be other impacts such as dust and vibration. Structure Plan policies C8, C10 and C11 give clear protection to sites, features and species of nature conservation importance and to historic, archaeological and cultural heritage sites and features. Chapter 3 of the Local Plan (policies LC15, LC16, LC17 and LC18) establishes that sites or features of importance should be conserved in their original location. Where development is accepted, alternative arrangements should be made. For archaeology, provision should be made for sites to be surveyed, excavated and appropriately recorded. It may be that as a last resort archaeological features can be moved to alternative locations. For ecology, the developer will be required to minimise any impact and record , safeguard and enhance sites or features as appropriate. It may be that as a last resort features can be moved to new locations (translocation of habitats) or new habitats created. It is often essential that this work is undertaken prior to any other works commencing through the use of conditions or obligations as set out in paragraph 28 of Planning Policy Guidance Note 9 and paragraph 26 of PPG16 and which shall be monitored and enforced where necessary. The prompt notification of cave finds and the provision of access for their scientific investigation will also be required. In some instances, mineral workings can create new types of habitat, expose important geological features, or achieve other net environmental benefits.


Water resources and drainage

9.9

Mineral extraction and associated reclamation proposals (such as those dependent on large volumes of re-used or imported waste material) can reduce groundwater levels, disturb natural drainage patterns, reduce the capacity of the flood plain, worsen flooding problems, and pollute local water resources. Cumulative impacts may also occur where there is a concentration of sites in a particular area. There may be opportunities for restoration of mineral workings to provide water based amenity and conservation benefits, although these are limited within the National Park.

9.10

The Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Water Resources Act 1991 and the Water Industry Act 1991 provide an important degree of protection. Planning controls can be used as the initial decision in principle to reinforce and supplement the above powers, in order to prevent or control unacceptable levels of environmental impact. Water resources and drainage policies are set out in Chapter 3 of this Local Plan (see Policies LC21, 22 and 23) and are registered in principle in Policy LM1.

 

Agricultural land

9.11

Structure Plan Policy C5 refers to the importance of conserving agricultural (particularly traditional) landscapes. The best and most versatile agricultural land in the National Park is an important source of food, fibre (eg wool) and energy which should be protected from irreversible loss. The feasibility of a high standard of reclamation is therefore also an important consideration when determining mineral applications affecting farmland.

 

Transport

9.12

Over 8 million tonnes (1997) of mineral of various kinds is produced each year from the National Park, most of which is transported by road for use in urban areas. The transportation of minerals by road often has considerable impact on local amenity and public safety, creating inconvenience, noise and vibration, air pollution and visual intrusion. Problems are most severe where lorries use minor hilly roads unsuited to their weight and size, where they pass through sensitive areas and villages, and at the point of access to the site from the public highway.

9.13

It is not desirable to allow development which could make existing problems worse or create unacceptable new ones. In order to assess traffic implications, the National Park Authority will require the applicant to provide details of anticipated vehicular movements. Where roads likely to be used regularly by mineral traffic would be inadequate planning permission should be refused. The impact of road transport might be reduced to an acceptable level by improvements to the site access, on-site signs directing traffic along appropriate routes, and in certain instances improvements to the road system where the improvements are in accord with the transport policies in the Structure Plan and in Chapter 11 of this Local Plan. This may be achieved through the use of conditions or obligations as set out in paragraph 3.25 of Planning Policy Guidance Note 23 which shall be monitored or enforced where necessary. In the deposit Local Plan the Authority attempted to secure obligations covering traffic management measures. In the past such measures have provided sufficient guarantees to allow developments to proceed which would otherwise have been refused. Unfortunately, Circular 1/97 advises that traffic management measures should not be covered by planning obligations. The National Park Authority may seek to agree voluntary codes of practice to help address this point.

9.14

Transport policies in the Structure Plan and in this Local Plan thus apply particularly to minerals developments. Policies should aim to minimise the environmental effects of road transport. This may be brought about by transferring to rail or, less often, conveyor or pipeline. The use of rail is supported in Structure Plan Policy T7. Some minerals are already transported by rail, notably limestone from the Buxton area, and from Hope Cement Works. The construction or improvement of new rail facilities may be carried out with the help of grants under Sections 136-9 of the Transport Act 1993. Conditions may be imposed to specify the use of rail and/or to restrict output at the site.

 

Cumulative impact

9.15

There may be situations where the cumulative environmental impact of mineral activity is unacceptable. This could arise because of a concentration of sites in a particular locality and where environmental damage or disturbance to the local community or to visitors could increase significantly by the addition of a further site. Alternatively, a proposed mineral development might result in a number of environmental impacts which are individually acceptable, but which collectively create unacceptable damage or disturbance. It is not possible to quantify the number of sites that would trigger consideration of cumulative impact. This will be dependent on the particular locality and will be assessed on a case by case basis.



Policy LM1: Assessing and minimising the environmental impact of mineral activity

(a)

Mineral development will not be permitted unless adverse impacts on the valued characteristics and amenity of the area can be reduced to the minimum practicable level, or eliminated, and the development is acceptable given the need to conserve and enhance the National Park. Where appropriate, the applicant must provide satisfactory evidence that the development can be completed within an agreed period. Particular attention will be paid to the following and planning conditions will be imposed as appropriate:

(i)

nuisance and general disturbance to the amenity of the area (including that caused by transport and the method and duration of working);

(ii)

the risk and impact of potential pollution affecting the use of land (including noise, dust, vibration and fumes);

(iii)

harm to the landscape (including that caused by the design and location of plant and buildings) and any necessary screening or landscaping of the site;

(iv)

harm to nature conservation, built environment and other heritage features;

(v)

harm to agricultural and forestry interests;

(vi)

harm to recreational interests including public rights of way;

(vii)

harm to surface and groundwater resources;

(viii)

damage in the form of subsidence or landslips and the effects of land instability on surface development;

(ix)

the cumulative impacts of operations.

(b)

Where necessary, planning obligations will be sought to address matters which cannot be dealt with by means of planning conditions, including the extinguishment of existing planning permissions.



Reclamation and after-use

9.16

Mineral working is not a permanent use of land although it can take place over a long period of time. Sensitive methods of working, restoration and aftercare can minimise impact during the operation and can sometimes conserve or enhance the environment in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. Where mineral working is accepted, there will be a need to agree satisfactory reinstatement, replacement or enhancement of affected features. Examples may include tree planting, the creation of new wildlife habitats and geological exposures, and the provision of opportunities for recreation and public access.

9.17

Minerals Policy Guidance Note 7 (MPG7) gives advice on the reclamation of mineral workings. Reclamation might result in an after-use of land for agriculture, forestry, nature conservation, recreation, built development or a combination of these depending on location. It is essential that after-use is given due weight as a material consideration at the planning application stage to assess whether it is feasible and compatible with other policies. There must also be clear evidence that the proposed after-use will be properly implemented and viable in the long term.

9.18

The method of reclamation and choice of after-use is dependent on the characteristics of the mineral deposit, the methods of extraction, the availability of fill material, and the original use of the site. There may also be opportunities for part of the site to be set aside for nature conservation or recreation to assist with other National Park purposes. For vein mineral operations, it is desirable for overburden and waste to be retained on site to assist in backfilling. Any shortfall can be met by importing inert waste. This last issue is dealt with in detail elsewhere in this Chapter and in Chapter 10.

9.19

MPG7 advises that permission should not be given for sites where there is serious doubt whether satisfactory reclamation can be achieved. Chapter 2 discusses how conditions, planning obligations and enforcement can ensure effective control. Operators should include in their application the likely financial and material budgets and how they propose to make financial provision for reclamation works during the operational life of the site. Carrying out reclamation progressively limits the area of land disturbed at any one time and helps to reduce the potential for unrestored land. Paragraph 86 of MPG7 advises that financial guarantees to ensure the reclamation of mineral sites should not normally be required and policies within development plans should not state that a Local Authority will require or seek bonds or financial guarantees to underpin planning conditions. However, paragraph 94 of MPG7 advises that there may remain exceptional cases with given examples where it will be reasonable for an MPA to seek a financial guarantee to cover restoration (aftercare) costs through a voluntary agreement/planning obligation at the time planning permission is given. Paragraph 95 of MPG7 advises that there are some other circumstances where a financial guarantee might be appropriate as part of a planning obligation, including where the mineral developer contributes funding towards management of the new after-use of the land which needs to last beyond the formal aftercare period.



Policy LM2: Reclamation of mineral sites to an appropriate after-use

(a)

Mineral working will not be permitted unless appropriate after-use of the site and reclamation to a suitable condition are possible and agreed. Measures designed to restore and enhance the environment will be required as appropriate.

(b)

Where appropriate, progressive reclamation of a site will be required.

(c)

Aftercare conditions will be imposed where reclamation is to be to agriculture, forestry or amenity.

(d)

Planning obligations may be sought for long-term funding for the management of the site for nature conservation or other amenity uses following the restoration and aftercare period.



Conserving mineral resources

9.20

Minerals are a finite resource and can only be worked where they occur. Structure Plan Policy M6 sets out the policy to safeguard mineral resources from sterilisation by inappropriate built development or by extraction for inappropriate uses. This is consistent with the principles of sustainable development. Minerals Policy Guidance Note 1 advises that the appropriate objectives are: to conserve minerals as far as possible, whilst ensuring an adequate supply to meet current needs; to minimise production of waste; to encourage efficient use of materials and recycling of wastes; and to prevent the unnecessary sterilisation of mineral resources. For the different mineral types, different issues arise, as described below.

 

Aggregates

9.21

Structure Plan Policy M4 states that "...The Board will, unless exceptional circumstances prevail, have regard to the need to maintain a 'landbank' of permitted reserves of aggregates appropriate for the National Park as a whole". Limestone is the main rock type used for aggregate purposes, accounting for the vast majority of total aggregate sales from the Park. Gritstone is the only other rock used for aggregate purposes, but the range of end uses is limited compared with limestone. The gritstone quarries primarily operate for dimensional stone. Only two quarries, the Isle of Skye Quarry, Holmfirth and Shire Hill Quarry, Glossop produce crushed gritstone for aggregate uses on a regular but limited basis, and output figures are therefore, confidential. The latest figures are set out below:

Production and reserves figures for limestone in the National Park (1985 - 1995)
Production
(Million Tonnes)

 

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

Aggregate

2.4

3.1

3.5

4.4

4.1

4.5

4.7

Non-aggregate

1.6

1.9

2.8

3.1

3.3

4.0

3.5

Total

4.0

5.0

6.3

7.5

7.4

8.5

8.2

Permitted Reserves

385

373

373

362

351

341

339

 

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

 

Aggregate

4.1

3.7

3.4

3.4

3.1

5.0

 

Non-aggregate

2.5

2.4

2.6

2.6

2.2

2.7

 

Total

6.6

6.1

6.0

6.0

5.3

7.7

 

Permitted Reserves

339

324

313

292

278

276

 


9.22

Government guidance on aggregates policy is contained in Mineral Planning Guidance Note 6 published in April 1994. This covers the 15 year period 1992 - 2006. The guidance figure for provision of crushed rock aggregate from the East Midlands region is 505 million tonnes (equivalent to 33.6m tonnes per year). A further 70 million tonnes is planned to be supplied from recycled and secondary materials, with 210 million tonnes of sand and gravel and 20 million tonnes of imports from other regions.

9.23

During 1994 these regional figures were considered by the mineral planning authorities and companies in the East Midlands and apportioned to each authority area, based broadly on the average percentage split over the five year period 1989-93. The apportionment figures were endorsed by the East Midlands Regional Planning Forum in October 1994 and the figures for the National Park were accepted by its Joint Planning Board. The apportioned figure for the National Park is 67.2 million tonnes of limestone aggregate for the 15 year period 1992-2006 (equivalent to about 4.5 million tonnes per annum). Applying this figure pro rata to the 10 year period 1997-2006 for this Local Plan, provision is needed for the extraction of 45 million tonnes of crushed limestone aggregate rock from the National Park as a whole.

9.24

In 1997 the total limestone reserve for quarries with planning permissions in the National Park was 276 million tonnes. However, not all these reserves will be available for aggregates production. In 1995, about 56 million tonnes were contained within the cement works quarry at Hope. Based on information provided by Buxton Lime Industries, about half the reserves from Old Moor are likely to be sold for chemical/industrial use. Ballidon Quarry also produces industrial limestone for powders and fillers. If an allowance of 96 million tonnes of reserves were for non-aggregate use, then the estimated limestone reserves available for aggregates use would be 140 million tonnes. If a further estimated allowance of, say, 3 million tonnes were made for ongoing aggregate production in 1996 then the permitted reserves available from 1997 for aggregates use are estimated at 137 million tonnes, equivalent to twice the contribution (should it not decline) needed for the Plan period, or matching (should it not decline) the contribution for the Plan period plus 10 years' supply beyond the Plan period. (Figures for 1997 indicate reserves of 128 million tonnes for aggregates use and 148 million tonnes for non-aggregates use.)

LIMESTONE RESERVES IN THE NATIONAL PARK

 

million tonnes

Total limestone reserves for crushed rock 1995

292

Less reserves earmarked for cement use (1995, estimate)

-56

Less reserves earmarked for chemical/industrial use

-96

Net limestone aggregate reserves 1995

=140

Less estimated aggregate production 1996

-3

Net available aggregate reserves from 1997 onwards

=137


9.25

There is thus a more than adequate permitted reserve of crushed limestone rock to supply the aggregates provision figure of 45 million tonnes during the 10 year period 1997 to 2006 and for the next ten years to provide the following years' landbank. There is therefore no foreseeable need to provide for new extraction from greenfield sites or from extensions to existing workings. Most of the reserves are in active quarries. Additionally, the National Park Authority will continue to make a case for reducing the National Park apportionment of aggregate mineral production in future years as part of its policy to promote sustainable development and to protect the National Park for future generations. It is also anticipated that, if the current policy and economic trends continue, demand for primary aggregate resources from the National Park will fall.



Policy LM3: Provision of aggregate minerals

Provision is made for the production of 45 million tonnes of crushed limestone rock aggregate from existing sites during the 10 year period 1997 - 2006.



Policy LM4: New aggregate extraction

Other than in exceptional circumstances new extraction for crushed rock aggregate will not be permitted.



Landbanks

9.26

Minerals Planning Guidance Note 6 suggests that landbanks should be based on a 7 year period for sand and gravel and that "a longer period may be appropriate for crushed rock". This guidance period looks forward to the year 2006. A 10 year period is therefore appropriate. A longer period is not considered appropriate for the National Park, since it would tend to perpetuate the historical pattern of quarry output, based on previous years' production rates. This would not be compatible with sustainability principles which seek to move aggregates production away from traditional primary aggregate sources. This is especially true of those sited in sensitive landscape areas such as National Parks. Nor would it be appropriate to use a longer period than the adjacent major limestone producing area in Derbyshire outside the National Park.

CRUSHED ROCK AGGREGATE

 

 

million tonnes

Plan requirement 1997-2006 (10x4.48)

44.8

Plus 10-year landbank at 2006 (10x4.48)

44.8

Total requirement

89.6

Less estimated limestone aggregate reserves from 1997

137.0

Surplus above requirement

47.4



Policy LM5: 10-year landbank for aggregates

Unless exceptional circumstances prevail, regard will be had to maintain a 10-year landbank for aggregates from the National Park as a whole throughout the plan period.



Building stone

9.27

Traditionally, building stone (limestone and gritstone) was quarried locally and used nearby to construct the buildings that are now valued as being often of high quality and typical of the Peak District. Conservation work and new buildings demand natural stone that will match closely the original types used in the area. There are currently two small quarries producing limestone for building stone (Once a Week quarry, Ashford and Hazelbadge Farm, Bradwell). The gritstone quarries at Stanton Moor and Birchover produce block stone for local, regional and national markets and have considerable approved reserves.

9.28

Because second-hand stone slates are in short supply and expensive, putting restoration work at risk, the National Park Authority (jointly with Derbyshire County Council and others) recently appointed a consultant to investigate the merits of re-working quarries for stone roofing slates. Any reopened workings should be small in scale (Structure Plan Policy M5) and their impact minimised (Structure Plan Policy M7 and Local Plan Policy LM1). The Authority will ask for a legally binding undertaking that the quarry output is not used for aggregates end uses. Any such undertaking will be enforced by monitoring and using evidence against a company if a breach of agreement occurs.



Policy LM6: Building stone and roofing slate

The extraction of hard rock for use as building stone or stone roofing slates will be permitted provided that the stone will not be used for aggregate purposes.



Limestone for non-aggregate uses

9.29

Limestone is quarried for cement at Hope works, for chemical and industrial uses at Old Moor quarry near Buxton, and for industrial use in fillers and powders at Ballidon quarry. All have existing planning permissions. There are extensive reserves at Hope and Old Moor. Structure Plan Policy M6 states that extraction of High Purity Limestone (HPL) will not normally be permitted except where it is to be used for a purpose where a high purity stone is essential. Extraction for Flue Gas Desulphurisation (in power stations) will not normally be permitted.

9.30

Whilst writing the Structure Plan, the Joint Planning Board proposed that the specification for HPL should be 96% Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3). This definition was given in Chapter 2 (paragraph 2.3 (a) of the study carried out by consultants for the Department of the Environment in 1990 (Appraisal of High Purity Limestone in England and Wales - A study of resources, needs, uses and demands). However, because of the disparate and variable nature of the resource, the Part 1 Resource Study carried out by British Geological Survey for the study used 97% CaCO3. The Department of the Environment therefore directed that the Joint Planning Board modify the Structure Plan to delete the specification figure of 96% from Policy M6.

9.31

In view of these conflicting definitions, the variability of the actual resources, and the technical and chemical constraints that apply to specific industrial and chemical processes, no further attempt will be made to define a precise chemical specification for HPL in the Local Plan. In addition, the nature of the market that the output is primarily intended to supply is covered within Structure Plan Policies M2, M3, M4, M6 and M7 and there is therefore no additional detailed policy.

 

Vein minerals

9.32

The National Park is a major source of vein mineral ore (including fluorspar, barytes, calcite and lead). About 300,000 tonnes of fluorspar and barytes are extracted each year. Most is processed at Cavendish Mill, near Stoney Middleton. This is now run by Glebe Mines Limited, who took over the processing plant from Laporte Minerals in November 1999. Typical annual output is about 45-50,000 tonnes of "Acid grade" fluorspar (97% Calcium Fluoride, for use in the chemical industry), 10-15,000 tonnes of barytes (used in various industrial products and the oil and gas drilling industry) and 2,000 tonnes of lead concentrate.

9.33

The UK output of fluorspar fell in the early 1990s and in 1994 was about 30,000 tonnes, but output has increased since then. The National Park accounts for virtually all of the UK supply. The only other UK producing area in recent years has been the North Pennines. About 50% of the national demand for fluorspar is imported. In 1994 UK production of barytes (Barium Sulphate) was 34,000 tonnes.

9.34

The ores are produced firstly from a number of surface workings: varying from small temporary opencast workings (normally worked by independent operators, known as 'tributers') to major open-pit workings (like that at Longstone Edge). Secondly there are underground mines at Great Hucklow and Longstone Edge. Resources have also been identified outside the National Park to the East and South at a suspected greater depth.

9.35

Structure Plan Policies M2, M3, M5, and M7 and the Local Plan Policies LM1& LM2 will apply to all vein mineral proposals. However, additional specific policies are appropriate in this Local Plan for limestone removal from vein mineral sites, calcite working, and the reworking of mineral dumps for vein mineral.

 

Limestone removal from vein mineral workings

9.36

Traditionally, only the actual vein mineral was removed from vein mineral sites. Any disturbed limestone was left on site for use as backfill as part of the restoration scheme. Many of the easier veins and those near the surface have now been worked out. Nowadays, the increasing scale and power of modern earthmoving machinery combined with safety factors has resulted in the removal of the limestone side walls of some sites to create open pits or hillside quarries. This has led to considerable visual impact because of either the waste rock stored in large heaps or the quarry operations themselves. These workings also give rise to more noise, dust and traffic associated with crushing and exporting limestone for aggregate purposes and reduce the chances of full restoration of original contours. There is evidence of serious understatement (alleged mis-representation) of the amount of limestone produced and sold as an alleged 'by product' of vein mineral working. In a number of cases, enforcement action has been considered and taken to reduce or prevent the removal of limestone from the site.

9.37

The removal of limestone and the unpredictability of the vein mineral structure (which in some cases is only discovered as work progresses) often leaves a major backfilling or restoration requirement at the very end of the extraction operation. Operators sometimes fail to make adequate financial provision to cover this non-revenue earning operation and repeated delays in restoration are requested in order to try to continue extracting mineral at depth while the workings remain open.

9.38

Limestone should therefore be retained on site unless there are exceptional circumstances. If limestone removal from the site is to be approved, then a financial guarantee of restoration will be sought. If it is felt that working is being undertaken in such a manner as to circumvent the planning system then in such cases enforcement action will be rigorously pursued.



Policy LM7: Limestone removal from opencast vein mineral sites

(a)

The extraction and removal of limestone host rock from opencast vein minerals sites for aggregate purposes will not be permitted unless:

(i)

there is a substantial amount of vein mineral that cannot be recovered by any alternative method;

and

(ii)

underground operations are not a practicable option;

and

(iii)

the geological structure of the site is such that the removal of limestone is justifiable on safety or geotechnical grounds to access the vein mineral;

and

(iv)

the amount of limestone to be removed is the minimum necessary to win and work the vein mineral whilst keeping to safe operating practices;

and

(v)

the removal of limestone and/or overburden from the site will enhance and secure the overall restoration of the site and not unduly prolong the period of active working or its environmental impact.

(b)

In exceptional cases where an approval is to be considered under this policy, the National Park Authority will require an operator to show that they have made appropriate financial provision and other arrangements binding on any successive operator or the land owner, to ensure that the site will be restored to an agreed scheme by a defined date.



Calcite working

9.39

Calcite is a crystalline form of Calcium Carbonate used in the decorative aggregates trade (eg for 'Derbyshire Spar' rendering). It can occur in veins where it is mixed with other minerals. It is mainly processed at Long Rake, Youlgreave.

9.40

In 1995 the Joint Planning Board appointed consultants to assess the national and local markets for calcite. That work showed that it is impossible to validate a commanding national need to justify large scale working of calcite, although the mineral extraction did support some local processing industries, which in turn provide some local employment (see paragraph 9.2). It is therefore appropriate to accept calcite working, but only when it is at a small scale (Structure Plan Policy M5) and is environmentally acceptable in accordance with Local Plan Policy LM1. Underground working is normally less intrusive than opencast surface working.



Policy LM8: Small scale calcite workings

The small scale working of vein minerals primarily for calcite will not be permitted unless:

(i)

the excavation is confined within the side walls of the vein;

or

(ii)

it is to be worked by underground means from an existing or acceptable surface mine entrance and compound.



Reworking of mineral dumps for vein mineral

9.41

The remains of the former lead mining industry are a distinctive and irreplaceable feature of the National Park. Hillocks of discarded stone and associated ('gangue') mineral mark the lines of underground workings at the surface and are now mostly vegetated. They are a valuable archaeological record and of interest as cultural heritage and landscape features. In addition, they are one of the few remaining species-rich habitats and have developed ecologically interesting species that can tolerate the particular conditions. Some of the most distinctive cases have been designated either as Scheduled Ancient Monuments (eg Tideslow Rake) or Sites of Special Scientific Interest (eg Oxlow Rake). Those hillocks with high quantities of minerals can be toxic to cattle if disturbed.

9.42

The removal of material from surface mineral dumps is often 'permitted development' under the Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, provided written notification is given. Minerals Planning Guidance Note 2 recommends that the operator should provide a plan and information on "the methods of operation to be employed, the proposed hours of working, the anticipated duration of the operations, the proposed access and the likely volume and duration of site traffic". A restoration and aftercare scheme will also be required.

9.43

Many dumps have been reworked for their fluorspar in recent years. There is now a case to protect those remaining dumps with ecological and archaeological interest and where they form an important feature of the landscape. There will sometimes be a justification to withdraw the permitted development rights through the use of Article 7 Directions. Such development would then require submission of an application and in the event of this being refused compensation may arise. In such a case the development would need to comply with Policy LM1. An alternative would be to secure a management agreement for conservation of the area.

 

Silica sand

9.44

Silica sand is sand which contains a high proportion of silica in the form of quartz. It is an essential raw material for the glass and foundry casting industries. It is also used in ceramic and chemicals manufacture and for water filtration. Silica sand (and associated clays) were formerly extracted at several 'pocket deposits' contained within the limestone around Friden (see diagram 1). The sand and clays were used to manufacture refractory bricks at Friden (still open) and near Parsley Hay (now closed). The extraction of silica sand within the National Park ceased in the late 1980s because of the poor quality of sands extracted. The brickworks at Friden now imports all of its raw supplies. Given the restricted quality and quantity of mineral available it is unlikely that production of indigenous silica sand will resume on any significant scale in the Plan period. There are a number of sites which still have extant permissions. These would act as a reasonable level of reserve based on the limited demand for mineral in the last ten years.

 

Mineral exploration

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Structure Plan Policy M5 acknowledges that mineral exploration is normally small in scale and of a temporary duration and generally acceptable in principle as a means of ascertaining the presence and quality of a mineral. Good exploration information can help when deciding whether to apply and when framing an appropriate planning application. Exploration operations are 'permitted development' under the GDPO 1995, provided written notice is given. In the case of drilling, the consent of the Environment Agency is also required. There are, however, certain sensitive areas where exploration would not be appropriate and in these cases the permitted development rights may be withdrawn through the use of Article 7 Directions. This would require submission of an application and in the event of this being refused compensation may arise. In such a case the development would need to comply with Policy LM1. Any exploration proposals will be considered without prejudice to subsequent applications for planning permission to extract minerals.

 

Ancillary mineral processing

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In certain cases mineral processing can cause considerable disturbance to local residents, especially due to noise from early morning or weekend working or lorry despatch. Where on-site processes exist or new proposals are acceptable, they should cease when the parent operation ceases. Permitted development rights, under the GPDO 1995, are excluded by condition in order to safeguard the special landscape of the National Park and to allow input into the design and siting of buildings, plant and machinery. Together with Policy LM1, the following policy is considered appropriate to control ancillary development to prevent quarry sites becoming isolated industrial units unconnected with mineral extraction.



Policy LM9: Ancillary mineral development

Ancillary mineral-related development will be permitted provided that:

(a)

there are clear benefits in a close link between the industrial and mineral developments because the material to be used is produced mainly on-site;

and

(b)

when planning permission for mineral working expires (or if the plant becomes redundant before the completion of mineral working) all plant, buildings and machinery will be removed, and the site will be satisfactorily reclaimed to an agreed after-use. This will be achieved by a planning obligation or condition imposed at the time of the grant of planning permission.



Re-use and recycling of mineral wastes

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The Waste Strategy for England and Wales, issued in May 2000, describes the Government's vision for better management of waste and resources. It aims to reduce the amount of materials used; then to encourage re-use; then to recover as much as possible from 'waste' materials (by recycling, composting or energy production), and finally only accepting waste disposal for the remaining element. General waste policies are set out in Chapter 10. This section deals only with mineral waste.

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In the UK, in 1990, 110 m tonnes of mineral waste was discarded. Currently only about 5% nationally is recycled or re-used and the government is committed to a significant increase. Re-use and re-cycling is seen as a means to make best use of available resources and to help reduce the area of land needed for tipping or for the extraction of other primary minerals. However, extraction and processing of mineral waste might give rise to dust, noise, and traffic problems associated with the recycling plant and impacts arising from the piecemeal working of waste tips which could otherwise have been subject to comprehensive reclamation schemes. Chapter 10 sets out the policies for waste disposal but the following policies encourage re-use and recycling specifically of mineral waste on mineral sites.

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At the planning application stage the options of re-using or re-cycling mineral waste, as compared with disposing of it, will be fully investigated. Although disposal is seen as a last resort in the waste hierarchy, mineral wastes can often be positively used for screening and reclamation and can assist in ensuring long-term stability of underground mines. In accordance with Structure Plan Policy M7, the operator must minimise environmental impact, resolve stability problems and ensure restoration. As the issue of disposal is usually considered at the application stage, permitted development rights are less commonly used for disposal on a mineral site or ancillary land. Under the GPDO 1995, waste management schemes will need to be submitted for consideration, where appropriate. The surface disposal of mineral wastes at a remote site will require separate planning permission and will be assessed against waste policies in the Structure Plan and this Local Plan.



Policy LM10: Producing secondary and recycled materials

The treatment of mineral wastes to produce secondary aggregates (to be used as substitutes for primary aggregates) will be permitted, provided that:

(a)

it is within the permitted boundaries of an existing mineral extraction site;

and

(b)

the materials are found within the site;

and

(c)

it will not prejudice or unduly prolong the satisfactory completion of a previously agreed backfilling and restoration scheme;

and

(d)

when planning permission for mineral working expires (or if the plant becomes redundant before the completion of mineral working) all plant, buildings and machinery will be removed, and the site will be satisfactorily reclaimed to an agreed after-use. This will be achieved by a planning obligation or condition imposed at the time of the grant of permission.

 

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