What is the influence of the European Union on the planning system for aggregates?
Map of the European Union.
Why is this important?
Although there is no overriding European policy for aggregates planning, the EU has had a significant impact on the UK aggregates planning system through a series of relevant directives and conventions that have subsequently been enacted into UK legislation and influenced the development of the thinking behind the Government's policies. This is because member states are obliged to implement these directives through their national statutory provisions with the basic objective of ensuring that these are common procedural requirements throughout the Union.
This section summarises some of the most relevant and important directives that influence the planning regime for aggregates. The influence of Europe goes much further however, influencing trade policy, the institutions of government and the growth of regional government across the UK and the rest of Europe. Although these influences are well outside the scope of this guidance, they should not be forgotten and form part of the context in which many of the directives and other influences are felt.
The following directives are of most relevance, but it is impossible to list all EU instruments that have some bearing on minerals development, which span directives, communications, protocols and other influences on the legislative regime and administration of the UK and which are evolving all the time.
||These include global treaties, such as Kyoto and strategies for dealing with the influences and effects of climate change and for integrating sustainable development into the EU's environmental policies as a result of major conferences, including the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Birds Directive (Council Directive 79/409/EEC)
This affords protection to wild birds considered to be of European level importance and the conservation of their habitats. Prime habitats are identified as Special Protection Areas (SPAs). The significance of this for the aggregates planning system is that it has effectively reduced the scope for the identification of new workings. Where a site in a SPA is promoted, substantial evidence on the effect on the relevant birds and their associated habitats would have to be considered.
Groundwater Directive (Council Directive 80/68/EEC)
This seeks to avoid the pollution of groundwater and its relevance relates to quarry dewatering, discharges to water (including possible pollution pathways) and to situations where landfilling is proposed as a form of restoration to a mineral working, even using materials formerly considered inert.
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