What is the influence of the European Union on the planning system for aggregates?
Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (Council Directives 85/337/EEC & 97/11/EEC)
The main aim of the Directive is to ensure that the decision-making authority for a particular project makes its decision in the knowledge of any likely significant effects of the environment. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process requires assessment to consider each of the potentially significant effects on the environment arising from a particular project and the results must be summarised in an Environmental Statement (ES). The results must also be disseminated more widely to communities and other stakeholders in a non technical summary. The requirement to undertake an EIA has enabled there to be a more informed decision making process.
Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EC)
This requires member states to take measures to maintain or restore natural habitats and wild species that are considered to be of European level importance to a favourable conservation status. The Directive lists habitat types and animal and plant species for which Special Areas of Conservation should be designated. The significance of this is that it acts as a high level constraint on the location of new mineral workings and other forms of development.
||Landfill Directive (Council Directive 1999/31/EC)
This requires member states to progressively reduce their reliance on the landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste. The Directive has subsequently influenced the development of the UK Waste Strategy 2000 and subsequent policy guidance and waste management targets. This has had implications for the aggregates industry in the form of restoration and greater resource management. Landfilling is not now seen as the main method of restoring former mineral workings. Significant regional targets have been set for the use of secondary and recycled aggregates as an alternative to primary aggregate use.
Assessment of the Effects of Certain Public and Private Projects on the Environment (2001/42)
This Directive formally developed the principles of strategic environmental impact assessment in the plan and policy making process. It aims to enable environmental considerations to be taken into account in the preparation of plans and programmes with a view to promoting sustainable development. The implications for aggregates planning is that that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is required to be undertaken by planning authorities to accompany their Mineral Development Frameworks (MDF) and assess different policy options.
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