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Planning

Strategic Policy
     
The recommendations contained within the Inspectors report, following an examination on the documents contained within a MDF, are binding. This fundamental change is in effect transferring local democracy to the centre.
 
Mineral Planning Guidance Notes (MPG) and Policy Statements (PPS) set out the Government's national planning policies for minerals in England. There are a whole series of these, dealing with different aspects of mineral developments.

The Government's policies on minerals and planning issues are currently set out within MPG1: General Considerations and the Development Plan System. MPG1 states that the Government intends the goal of sustainable development to guide future policy and it sets out the objectives for sustainable development for minerals planning. Other MPGs of particular relevance to aggregates extraction are MPG2, which contains advice on handling planning applications, MPG6, policy on aggregates planning and MPG7 providing advice on the reclamation of mineral sites.

It is these guidance notes and statements that drive the development of a MPA's core strategy document in their MDF and therefore ultimately the policy framework upon which future planning applications will be determined.
As part of the planning reforms the recommendations contained within the inspector's report following an examination on the documents contained within a MDF are binding.

Map of production and trade

Trade and transport of aggregates within the UK. (Click to enlarge).

  Cartoon showing government officials pulling a loaded aggregates truck

Planning Applications
     
The Government can ‘call-in' an application where an application is considered to fall within Section 77 of the Town and Country Planning 1990 Act where it has been interpreted that it falls within established guidelines.
 
This fundamental change is in effect transferring local democracy to the centre. It is now the Government's representative that has the final say on the prospective sites that are to be identified within a MDF rather than the elected representatives of the MPA. The system ensures compliance with the Government's national policies for minerals.

If a decision to refuse a planning application is appealed, it is the Government appointed inspector who will preside over the appeal and who ultimately will have the final say on whether to allow or refuse the planning application. The Government can 'call-in' an application where an application is considered to fall within Section 77 of the Town and Country Planning 1990 Act where it has been interpreted that it falls within established guidelines.

Conclusions
It is interesting that in a climate of increasing community participation in the planning system actively encouraged by the Government, that at the heart of the mineral planning system the Government retains a firm control on what amount of mineral is required, strategically where it should come from, the strategic policy framework and the final say on the MDF process.