Down to earth plan
The blueprint for the future of mineral prospecting and waste management in Buckinghamshire has been given the thumbs-up by county councillors.
Buckinghamshire’s new Minerals and Waste Local Plan aims to ensure a steady and adequate supply of aggregates, and forecasts future waste management needs, taking account of growth set out in the district local plans.
The plan has been around four years in the making, and has undergone three public consultations, an Examination in Public by a Government inspector in September 2018, and received the inspector’s final report last month.
Bill Chapple OBE (pictured), Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment, said: ‘We all recycle rubbish or throw it away and this needs to be dealt with. And we all live in homes that have been built using minerals extracted from the ground.
‘We need to plan carefully for the future provision of mineral sites and location of waste management facilities, and that’s just what this plan does. It balances the needs of our amenities and our natural and historic environment, with the demands for future mineral extraction, and the need to manage Buckinghamshire’s waste.’
For waste, the plan sets out how much extra capacity will be required, when it will be needed and where it could be provided. It also sets criteria for identifying future recycling and composting capacity.
For minerals, the plan identifies how much sand and gravel will be required and when. It safeguards areas in both the south and north of the county. Operators looking to extract sand, gravel, clay or chalk will need to satisfy strict site criteria, such as noise, air quality and visual impact, as would those planning waste recycling, recovery or disposal operations.
The plan’s criteria protect environmental features, such as the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Green Belt, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, nature reserves, wildlife sites, rivers and canals. They also ensure protection for scheduled monuments and listed buildings.