Residents in West Berkshire are being asked for their views on proposals for a planned, sustainable framework for minerals and waste management in the district up until 2037.
In order to help guide future development across the district, West Berkshire Council sets out the policy context for assessing planning applications for minerals and waste development in accordance with the national planning policy. Known as the Minerals and Waste Local Plan (Proposed Submission), the document also proposes where minerals can be extracted within the district and considers the need for the management of domestic, commercial and construction waste.
A consultation has been launched today (Monday 4th January 2021) and is open until 11.59pm Monday 15th February 2021. To read the plan, the supporting evidence base, and take part in the consultation, residents are invited to visit https://info.westberks.gov.uk/mwlpps
The plan proposes new sites for extracting sand and gravel at Tidney Bed, near Sulhamstead, and another for sand extraction behind Chieveley Services. Given that the minerals are a finite resource, the plan also encourages the construction industry to use recycled and secondary aggregate materials as well as seeking alternative construction methods. No new waste sites are proposed under the new plans, as existing needs are met.
Speaking about the plan, Councillor Hilary Cole, Executive Member for Planning and Housing, said:
“Living in a mostly rural and very beautiful area we need to think carefully about where we allow minerals to be extracted. In West Berkshire we mostly have sand and gravel, which are vital for maintaining and building roads and homes for our communities. We need to strike a balance between allowing some mineral extraction and at the same time minimising the impact on the local area.
“This includes promoting the use of recycled and secondary materials and other construction methods that don’t use precious resources. The Minerals and Waste Local Plan will help us to achieve these aimswith a sustainable development approach, and I would encourage residents to read the plan and share their views on it with us.”
The Minerals and Waste Local Plan makes up part of the Development Plan for West Berkshire, a series of documents which sets out how the district will develop until 2037. It ensures that future development is coordinated and sustainable, as well as providing protection against development outside of the plan.
The plan includes specific policies for minerals and waste development to minimise disruption to local communities and the natural environment. These include:
- Natural environment – mitigation against flooding and climate change
- Transport – ensuring safe access to the site and that the road network can cope
- Public Rights of Way – preserving Public Rights of Way and/or ensuring suitable diversions can be accommodated
- Agriculture – protecting the district’s best and most versatile farmland
Once activity at mineral and waste sites has concluded, site operators need to complete high-quality site restoration which could include landscaping, enhancing biodiversity in the area or by providing new or enhanced recreational or green space.
Following the consultation the plan will be submitted to the Secretary of State for examination.
Once adopted the Minerals and Waste Local Plan will replace the Replacement Minerals Local Plan for Berkshire incorporating alterations adopted 1997 and 2001 (RMLP) and the Waste Local Plan for Berkshire adopted 1998 (WLPB) for planning decisions in West Berkshire.