9. Minerals

9.1.

INTRODUCTION

Pant Quarry
9.1.1.

The future supply of minerals is one of the fundamental issues to be addressed by this Plan. The minerals worked in the Vale at present are Carboniferous and Liassic limestones, used mainly for aggregates and cement manufacture, and marine dredged sand used for building and concrete. The only currently available alternative to natural occurring minerals is power station ash from Aberthaw. Historically, marls were worked as brickearth and metalliferous minerals have been mined on a small scale. Surveys for hydrocarbon resources were carried out over much of the western Vale in the early 1990's. 

9.1.2.

LIMESTONES

The physical properties of limestones make them useful for a host of everyday purposes where material is required in bulk (as 'aggregates') such as roadstone, concrete, railway ballast and construction fill; as building stone; and also in cement manufacture, agriculture, as a flux in iron and steel manufacture and for numerous purposes in industry ranging from flue gas desulphurisation to making toothpaste.

9.1.3.

Limestone for aggregate use

The Vale contains over 30% of the total number of permitted Carboniferous limestone aggregate quarries in the area of the former three Glamorgans and Gwent, and in 1995 produced 7.6% of regional (i.e. South Wales) crushed rock aggregate supply. Permitted reserves at those quarries at April 1996 totalled some 32.6 million tonnes (mt), but 83% is located at only four sites, two of which are not currently working.

9.1.4.

The draft South Glamorgan Minerals Local Plan identified a further 5mt adjoining existing sites in the Vale as suitable for immediate release and protects a further 36mt for the future. Sites containing 1.3mt are proposed for permanent closure. The Mid Glamorgan Minerals Local Plan similarly protects a further 6.5mt in the Vale and proposes 9.9mt for permanent closure. 

9.1.5.

Production

Demand for aggregates for general construction purposes will continue for the long-term future. In South Wales as a whole, total limestone production has remained remarkably steady since the late 1960's, although the relative constancy of output hides the fact that output for aggregates has increased whilst production of non-aggregate stone has fallen (e.g. in 1970 75% of limestone sales were for aggregate use, whereas in 1989 that proportion was 85%). Also, production has become concentrated at progressively fewer sites over that period. 

9.1.6.

Aggregate limestone production in the Vale in 1995 totalled 1.125mt. The only figures available for a year-on-year comparison are for South Glamorgan, where aggregate production peaked at 1.6mt in 1978 and 1983 but fell to a 1992 low of 0.8mt. Boundary changes make comparisons difficult but it is probable that the current Vale production is similarly only 50% of its peak. If so, aggregate reserves could last for 29 years from January 1996 at current production levels or for 14 years if the assumed 1978/83 peak was regained immediately. 

9.1.7.

Sustainability

'Minerals Planning Policy Wales 2000' advises that 'the essential role of Mineral Planning Authorities in relation to mineral working is to ensure that a proper balance is struck between that fundamental requirement, the need to ensure a prudent use of finite resources, and the protection of existing amenity and the environment. Any effects on local communities and the environment must be minimized and thereafter ameliorated to an acceptable standard'.

9.1.8.

Natural replenishment of minerals happens only over geological timescales: they will therefore eventually run out. How soon this happens depends on how fast they are used up, not only by being worked but also by being built on. In determining future needs it is essential to consider the principle of sustainability, to ensure that minerals are used efficiently and only where necessary and also to ensure future generations are not denied their use. It is therefore important to conserve resources as well as to control their release. 

9.1.9.

Future Demand Levels

The Vale of Glamorgan is an important regional aggregates supplier in terms of output, reserves and number of sites. If provision is not made for a continuation of the Vale's share of regional supply, pressure will increase on remaining sites as current reserves are used up, and on other counties to make up the shortfall. Such a course would be likely to result in justifiable objections from both the industry and other local authorities. Conversely, a commitment to continue the Vale's important regional role requires the availability of sufficient reserves throughout the Plan period and beyond. Even if the assumed 1978/83 peak of 2.2mt was regained immediately, no further reserves would have to be released until 2010, although earlier depletion of reserves at some sites could result in local shortages before that date. Release of the resources adjoining existing sites identified in Minerals Local Plans would postpone the need for new sites until 2026 even at that peak rate.

9.1.10.

Minerals produced are overwhelmingly for use within the Vale area or Cardiff (87% in 1993), and are used almost exclusively for construction purposes (97% in 1993). Future production will be heavily influenced by development activity in the Vale and elsewhere locally. If the current level of economic activity is to be maintained, then current levels of mineral production will need to be maintained. If a higher level of growth, equivalent to the peak years of 1978 or 1983 is expected, then mineral production levels will be similarly high. Nationally, forecasts of construction minerals needs are based on economic forecasts for various rates of growth. The need for construction materials, including aggregates, must be assumed to continue indefinitely even if no growth is contemplated, since the same minerals will be needed for repair and maintenance, although in smaller quantities. 

9.1.11.

Conclusion

Presently permitted aggregates reserves could cater for a continuation of either 1995 or 1989-1991 average output levels over the Plan period, although local shortages could occur. Provision for the assumed 1978/83 peak to be regained immediately and maintained would require further releases by 2010. The continued protection, and release when necessary, of the resources identified adjoining existing sites in Minerals Local Plans would extend the exhaustion date to 2026 even at peak levels. There is therefore no need for protection of further resources at present beyond those previously identified adjoining existing sites. It must be remembered, however, that there are very few sites suitable for new quarries once existing and protected reserves are used up. 

9.1.12.

Production

Production of limestone for non-aggregate use is dominated by Carboniferous stone from Garwa Farm Quarry and Liassic stone from Aberthaw Quarry, both for cement manufacture at Aberthaw cement works. Non aggregate production fell from a 1979 peak of 1.3mt to 0.4mt in 1993, but recovered to 0.6mt in 1995. This decrease is due in part to the closure of Rhoose cement works but to a greater extent to the effects of the recession combined with increased quantities of imported cement. Stone for cement manufacture represented 35% of total stone production in the Vale in 1995. The nearest alternative cement works are in Wiltshire and Clwyd.

9.1.13.

Reserves

Aberthaw Quarry Reserves at Garwa and Aberthaw Quarries totalled 49mt at January 1996. At current extraction rates reserves at Garwa are sufficient for almost 50 years and at Aberthaw for over 100 years. The stone at Garwa is particularly pure carbonate, rare in South Wales, and the Draft South Glamorgan Minerals Local Plan recognised this by protecting resources of similar quality at Ruthin Common.

9.1.14.

Conclusion

Cement manufacture is an important industry which requires guaranteed long-term reserves. Whilst reserves at Aberthaw are sufficient for the very long term, the special nature of the stone at Garwa deserves particular attention.

9.1.15.

MARINE DREDGED SAND

Production and Reserves

In 1995 dredged sand sales in South Wales represented 8.5% of total aggregates supply, with landings at the two wharves in Barry Docks forming 4.7% of total dredged sand sales. The Crown Estates estimated licensed reserves in the Bristol Channel amounted to 55mt at January 1990, the  majority being fine sand suitable for concrete, mortar and asphalt. Further unlicensed reserves may total 30mt, but information about long term reserves is unclear and increasing concerns about the environmental effects of continued dredging mean that this source of supply is not as certain as it once was.

9.1.16.

Nash Bank

Recent studies of the Nash Bank resource by HR Wallingford and others following an application by the dredging companies for renewal of the licence demonstrate that there is no replenishment of sand dredged from the bank and that any reduction in the height of the bank could have detrimental effects on coastal erosion and beach sands. The consultants conclude that whilst in the short term up to 1.5mt could continue to be extracted annually, continuous monitoring of the bank profile is required and if a bank height reduction is observed dredging should cease at 12 months notice.

9.1.17.

Rest of the Bristol Channel

A study of the marine aggregate resources and constraints in the Bristol Channel, sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government and the DETR, was completed in 2000. Based on that research, in 2004 the Welsh Assembly Government published “Interim Marine Aggregates Dredging Policy: South Wales”, which will guide future decisions on dredging licences.

9.1.18.

Alternative Sources

Whilst dredging is likely to continue to meet demand in the short term, longer term reliance on marine aggregates as a major feature of regional supplies cannot be guaranteed, and any reduction in dredging supplies would increase pressure on land based aggregate sources. Although there is no history of land-won sand andgravel operations in the Vale, a recent Welsh Assembly  Government sponsored research project (“South Wales Sand and Gravel: Appraisal of Land Based Extraction in South Wales”) has identified areas in the Vale which may contain potential sand resources. However, evidence of the extent and nature of the deposits is limited, and extensive surveys would be needed to prove the existence of material of commercially exploitable quality and quantity. This Plan must nevertheless allow for the possibility of exploration for, and exploitation of, new minerals in the future.

9.1.19.

The Council has little direct control over the provision of landing facilities for sand, as those facilities located on Associated British Ports land are normally 'permitted development' under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. 

9.1.20.

Bearing in mind the environmental protection policies of this Plan and the fact that the resource areas and the normal landing facilities are outside the Council's control, it is not necessary to include any additional policies specifically for dredging in this Plan. 

9.1.21.

The Council is consulted by the Welsh Assembly Government on new dredging proposals before they in turn give a 'Government View' to the Crown Estate Commissioners. The Council's response to such consultations will be guided by the environmental protection policies of this Plan. 

9.1.22.

SECONDARY MATERIALS

Background

Aberthaw Power Station The only established industry making use of waste materials is the sale of power station ash from Aberthaw power station as a lightweight aggregate. This material is used for an increasing number of purposes from general fill to a replacement aggregate in concrete. However, the amounts of material used fluctuate widely from year to year, and production of ash normally exceeds sales. The use of pfa makes an appreciable contribution to the objectives of sustainable development set out in
paragraphs 3.2.9 and 3.2.10 above.

9.1.23.

The use of alternative materials as substitutes for naturally occurring minerals was encouraged (subject to no unacceptable detriment being caused to the environment) in both the approved South Glamorgan Structure Plan and the Draft Replacement Structure Plan. The need to encourage sustainable development and to protect primary minerals is explained earlier in this document. 

9.1.24.

Proposals for new sites or the intensification of processes at existing sites need to be considered carefully so that the problems often associated with primary mineral workings such as heavy lorry traffic, noise and dust do not become excessive. 

9.2.

NATIONAL PLANNING GUIDANCE

9.2.1.

National guidance on mineral working in Wales is contained in “Minerals Planning Policy Wales 2000” (MPPW 2000), published by the National Assembly for Wales in 2001. That policy document covers all minerals extraction (except marine dredged aggregates) in Wales, and supersedes many of the Minerals Planning Guidance Notes previously issued by the former Department of the Environment and the Welsh Office. 

9.2.2.

The main document will be supplemented by a series of Minerals Technical Advice Notes (MTANs). The first MTAN, for aggregates, was issued in March 2004, and further MTANs are to be prepared for topics to include coal (not relevant to the Vale of Glamorgan), restoration and the environmental effects of mineral workings. This Unitary Development Plan has taken into account the main strategic principles set out in MPPW 2000 but has been prepared in advance of publication of some of the MTANs.

MPPW 2000 aims to address five key principles:

  • The provision of mineral resources to meet society's needs and to safeguard resources from sterilisation; 
  • Protection of areas of importance to the natural or built heritage;
  • Limiting the environmental impact of mineral extraction;
  • The achievement of high standards of restoration and beneficial after-use; and
  • Encouragement of the efficient and appropriate use of minerals and the reuse and recycling of suitable materials.

The policies contained within this Chapter of the Plan seek to translate these principles into a local strategy for future mineral working.

General guidance in respect of minerals in England and Wales is also contained in a series of Minerals Planning Guidance Notes (MPGs). Those most relevant to the preparation of this Plan are:

MPG 1: 'General Considerations and the Development Plan System';

MPG 4: 'The Review of Mineral Sites';

MPG 6: 'Guidelines for Aggregate Provision in England and Wales';

MPG 8: 'Planning and Compensation Act 1991:Interim Development Order Permissions - Statutory Provisions and Procedures';

MPG10: 'Provision of Raw Material for the Cement Industry';

MPG14: 'Environment Act 1995: Review of Mineral Planning Permissions' 

9.2.3.

Government guidance on minerals supply and demand in Wales was set out in Minerals Planning Guidance Note 6: “Guidelines for Aggregates Provision in England and Wales” 1989 (MPG 6), of which a 1994 review related only to England. In the absence of similar revised guidelines on likely aggregate requirements in Wales, and to overcome the discrepancies in the two versions of the guidance, the South Wales Regional Aggregates Working Party produced a set of 'Guidelines for Aggregates Provision in South Wales' in 1995. 

9.2.4.

The Guidelines proposed that reserves should be made available to maintain the 1989-91 average annual aggregate production over the 1992-2006 period, with the former South Glamorgan supplying 0.93mt per year. Although boundary changes again make comparisons difficult, if the current figure of 7.6% of regional demand being met from the Vale is to be maintained, some 14.6mt would be required from the Vale between 1996 and 2011, assuming continuation of the 1989-1991 average level of production throughout the Plan period. This represents an annual output of 0.91mt (below the 1995 output of 1.125mt), at which level currently permitted reserves would last until 2032. 

9.3.

OBJECTIVES

9.3.1.

The mineral policies of this plan are intended to fulfil the following objectives:

  • To ensure that the needs of society for minerals are satisfied with due regard to the protection of the environment; 
  • To encourage the best and most efficient use of all available resources and to encourage recycling and the use of secondary materials where appropriate;
  • To ensure that any environmental damage or loss of amenity caused by mineral operations is kept to an acceptable level;
  • To ensure that land taken for mineral operations is reclaimed at the earliest opportunity and is capable of an acceptable use after working has come to an end, and
  • To prevent the unnecessary sterilisation of mineral resources
9.4.

POLICIES AND PROPOSALS

POLICY MIN 1 - MINERAL EXPLORATION

PROPOSALS TO CARRY OUT MINERAL EXPLORATION WILL BE PERMITTED UNLESS THERE WOULD BE AN UNACCEPTABLE IMPACT ON ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:

  1. LANDSCAPE CHARACTER;
  2. VISUAL AMENITY;
  3. NATURE CONSERVATION;
  4. RESIDENTIAL AMENITY;
  5. THE GLAMORGAN HERITAGE COAST;
  6. SURFACE WATER AND GROUND WATER RESOURCES;
  7. SCHEDULED ANCIENT MONUMENTS AND HISTORIC LANDSCAPES
9.4.1.

Exploration is an essential activity for proving the existence of a mineral deposit and evaluating its potential for extraction. Information resulting from mineral exploration is required by the Council in the processing of applications for quarrying development. Many small-scale and temporary mineral exploration operations such as the drilling of boreholes, excavation of trial pits and seismic surveys are 'permitted development' under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 subject to restrictions on their duration and the types of equipment used. For longer periods or where, for example, large drilling rigs are to be used, planning permission is required. In such cases, the Council will seek to ensure that there will be no adverse effects on residential amenity or other sensitive land uses. The grant of planning permission for mineral exploration will not indicate a presumption in favour of future exploitation of any minerals found.

POLICY MIN 2 - RELEASE OF LIMESTONE RESERVES

THE FOLLOWING LAND IS ALLOCATED FOR THE WINNING AND WORKING OF LIMESTONE:

  1. LAND TO THE SOUTH OF PANTYFFYNNON QUARRY;
  2. LAND TO THE NORTH WEST OF LITHALUN QUARRY;
  3. LAND TO THE SOUTH OF CWM SLADE AND WENVOE QUARRY
AS IDENTIFIED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP, IN ORDER TO PROVIDE FOR A TOTAL OF 20 YEARS RESERVES AT EACH SITE.

POLICY MIN 3 - PROTECTION OF FURTHER LIMESTONE RESOURCES AND POTENTIAL RESOURCES OF SAND AND GRAVEL

THE FOLLOWING AREAS, AS IDENTIFIED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP, SHALL BE PROTECTED FROM ALL FORMS OF PERMANENT BUILDING DEVELOPMENT IN ORDER THAT THE WORKABLE RESOURCES OF LIMESTONE OR SAND AND GRAVEL WITHIN THOSE AREAS MAY BE PRESERVED FOR THE FUTURE SHOULD A DEMONSTRABLE NEED FOR THOSE RESOURCES ARISE:

  1. LAND TO THE SOUTH-WEST OF FOREST WOOD QUARRY (LIMESTONE); 
  2. LAND TO THE SOUTH OF RUTHIN QUARRY (LIMESTONE);
  3. LAND TO THE SOUTH OF PANTYFFYNNON QUARRY (LIMESTONE);
  4. LAND TO THE NORTH WEST OF PANT QUARRY (LIMESTONE);
  5. LAND TO THE NORTH OF CITY (SG1 & SG2);
  6. LAND WITHIN THE UPPER THAW VALLEY (SG3, SG4, SG5, & SG6); AND
  7. LAND WITHIN THE ELY VALLEY (SG7, SG8, SG9, SG10, SG11, & SG12).

POLICY MIN 4 - NEW OR EXTENDED MINERAL WORKING SITES RESERVES

UNLESS THERE IS OVERRIDING NEED FOR MINERALS DEVELOPMENT, PROPOSALS FOR THE RELEASE OF NEW MINERAL RESERVES OR THE IDENTIFICATION OF NEW MINERAL RESOURCES WILL NOT BE PERMITTED ON LAND:

  1. OF GRADE 1, 2 OR 3A AGRICULTURAL QUALITY;
  2. OCCUPIED BY PERMANENT BUILDINGS OTHER THAN NONRESIDENTIAL FARM BUILDINGS; OR
  3. WITH PLANNING PERMISSION FOR AN ALTERNATIVE USE.

SUCH PROPOSALS WITHIN OR ADJACENT TO:

  1. THE GLAMORGAN HERITAGE COAST OR EAST VALE COASTAL ZONE;
  2. AREAS DESIGNATED FOR SPECIAL PROTECTION
WILL BE SUBJECT TO A RIGOROUS EXAMINATION CONSISTENT WITH THE STATUS OF THEIR DESIGNATION.
9.4.2.

In addition, in view of increasing concern on the effect of mineral workings on groundwater resources, proposals for the development of new mineral reserves, or the extension of existing mineral winning activities, that require planning permission and which include or are likely to include working below the water table such that dewatering is required, will only be considered when supported by the following information:

  1. a water features survey;
  2. identification of the hydrogeological conditions of the site and adjacent areas; 
  3. an assessment of the potential impact of dewatering activities;
  4. an agreed monitoring scheme;
  5. identification of appropriate mitigating measures that will be adopted, where necessary, should the agreed monitoring scheme demonstrate derogation of either surface or groundwater interests to include abstractions; protected rights; surface water features supported by groundwater; wetlands and springs.
9.4.3.

In view of the quantities of reserves with permission for extraction at existing sites, the resources allocated by policy MIN 2 and protected by policy MIN 3, there is no need for limestone working to take place in any other part of the Vale within the Plan period. If future exploration were to lead to the discovery of different minerals (for example hydrocarbons), the acceptability of working them may well depend on other issues. Proposals for such operations would have to demonstrate satisfactory compliance with the Strategic Principles and Environmental Protection Policies of this Plan and with policy MIN 4. 

9.4.4.

Criterion (i) of policy MIN 4 protects the best and most versatile agricultural land, which is in short supply in Wales. Minerals beneath such land will remain available for future generations, but by today's standards its agricultural quality is more important. 

9.4.5.

Criterion (ii) recognises that once built upon, underlying mineral resources will normally be lost for good. This applies both to the main built-up areas and to individual buildings, particularly houses, in rural areas. Barns and other farm buildings can usually be more readily re-sited than houses, and their presence need not act as a permanent inhibition to mineral working and will enable land to continue in productive use in the interim. 

9.4.6.

Criterion (iii) reflects the fact that some land may already have permission for some other use. Such land should be protected from the effects of mineral working. 

9.4.7.

Criterion (iv) respects the special qualities of the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, which is strategically important not just in the Vale but in a national context. It is the Liassic limestone cliffs that give this coast some of its most attractive and characteristic landscapes. Mineral working proposals in the East Vale Coastal Zone will be examined in the light of Policy ENV 6 of this Plan in addition to the Minerals Policies of this Plan. 

9.4.8.

Criterion (v) embraces all the various statutory designated areas, including Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National and Local Nature Reserves, Conservation Areas, SACs, Ancient Monuments, Listed Buildings and Tree Preservation Orders. 

9.4.9.

At two sites (Pantyffynnon and Wenvoe), permitted reserves will be exhausted within six years at current rates of extraction. Sufficient reserves for up to a total of 20 years production at current levels at each site are therefore identified in Policy MIN 2 as suitable for immediate release. These reserves meet the criteria in Policy MIN 4. 

9.4.10.

At the sites identified in policy MIN 3, the need for further releases is not as urgent. Although the limestone resources adjoining these sites could be worked without unreasonable detriment to the environment, there is no justification for their release at present. The protected area at Forest Wood Quarry includes a dwelling (Fforest Fawr) which is owned by the quarry company: no extension would be permitted in this area whilst that property is inhabited. 

9.4.11.

Occasionally, small-scale extensions may prove possible in order to allow for logical extensions to current sites. These would normally require exceptional circumstances to justify them. For example, a minor extension to Wenvoe Quarry was accepted under previous, similarly restrictive policies, as a result of the operator agreeing to unusual restrictions on blasting practices (blast nets) to overcome the environmental problems of their proposals. Exceptions may also be justified where an extension may be preferable to working sensitive parts of an area already with permission. 

9.4.12.

South Wales has a unique dependency on marine dredged aggregates to provide sand and gravel. However, following research carried out by the Symonds Group, on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government, there is uncertainty about future aggregates dredging continuing to supply the South Wales market. The recently granted licence for dredging at Nash Bank requires activities to cease by 2010, and there are currently no adequate replacement resources. Whilst recognising that land based extraction is not appropriate at present, the Aggregates TAN maintains the requirement first expressed in the consultation draft for Mineral Planning Authorities to identify and safeguard land based sand and gravel resources in their development plans now for potential use by future generations. Accordingly, the Council has amended Policy MIN 3 to include sand and gravel resources and indicated the location of these on the proposals map. The purpose of this policy is therefore to protect the identified areas from permanent development that would sterilise or hinder the extraction of the potential mineral resources if the need for the resources should be proven. It does not indicate an acceptance of the working of any of the sites identified, particularly as many of them lie within sensitive rural locations.

POLICY MIN 5 - PREFERRED ORDER OF RELEASE OF RESERVES

IN ASSESSING THE NEED FOR NEW RELEASES OF MINERALS, THE EXTENSION OF EXISTING SITES WITH PLANNING PERMISSION WILL BE FAVOURED TO THE OPENING OF NEW SITES, AND THE DEEPENING OF EXISTING SITES WITH PLANNING PERMISSION WILL BE FAVOURED TO THE LATERAL EXTENSION OF SUCH SITES, WHERE THE ADOPTION OF SUCH AN APPROACH WOULD NOT CREATE UNACCEPTABLE DETRIMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT, SURFACE WATERS OR GROUNDWATER RESOURCES. 

9.4.13.

Generally, the continuation of operations at a site already disturbed by mineral workings is preferable to the introduction of such operations to a new area. Although this may mean operations continuing over a longer period, their impact is already well known and documented. The prospect of an extension also provides an opportunity to introduce better controls over the existing operation. Deepening before extending laterally also helps to minimise the area of land devoted to working, and ensures the optimum use of existing resources. Both ensure that existing investment in infrastructure is used to its fullest extent. In both cases, however, care needs to be taken to avoid environmental problems such as pollution, interruption to water supplies, derogation of water resources, or the continued use by heavy traffic of narrow country lanes with no prospect of widening.

Ruthin Quarry 

POLICY MIN 6 - ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

EVERY OPPORTUNITY WILL BE TAKEN TO IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF EXISTING MINERAL WORKING SITES AND MINIMISE THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF PROPOSED MINERAL WORKING SITES BY INTRODUCING OR IMPOSING MODERN CONTROLS OVER:

  1. WORKING METHODS;
  2. HOURS OF OPERATION;
  3. BLASTING METHODS;
  4. VEHICULAR ACCESS ARRANGEMENTS;
  5. LANDSCAPING OF THE SITE;
  6. OVERBURDEN STORAGE AND WASTE DISPOSAL ARRANGEMENTS;
  7. MEASURES TO AVOID POLLUTION;
  8. MEASURE TO PROTECT GROUNDWATER RESOURCES;
  9. RESTORATION AND AFTER CARE ARRANGEMENTS WHERE APPROPRIATE;
  10. CONTROL OF SECONDARY INDUSTRY AT THE SITE;
  11. PROTECTION OF NATURE CONSERVATION INTERESTS IN THE SITE AND ITS SURROUNDINGS; AND
  12. PROVISION OF A FIVE YEARLY REVIEW OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THESE CONTROLS.
9.4.14.

Operational Controls

The way in which minerals are worked determines their impact on the environment and whether they can be satisfactorily worked in a given area. Some of the issues are common to all or most mineral working sites. Others arise from their particular location. Whilst this Plan is essentially designed to ensure an adequate supply of minerals for the future, it is also appropriate to consider how to resolve problems already being caused by mineral working in the Vale. In some cases such problems may preclude further extension to a site until they are resolved. Examples include unsociable working hours, lack of restrictions on blasting practices, inadequate restoration requirements, poor landscaping and unsuitable access arrangements. The matters listed in Policy MIN 6 will need to be taken into account in relation to both existing and proposed sites.

9.4.15.

How some of these controls will be applied to existing workings is set out in the area policies and proposals in Supplementary Planning Guidance. The opportunity to implement these policies at such sites will arise in various ways:

  1. The statutory review of mineral workings required by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 and the Environment Act 1995;
  2. The renewal of time-limited planning permissions;
  3. Planning obligations or legal agreements negotiated in relation to new proposals nearby.
Welsh Office Circular 13/97 advises that planning obligations should only be sought where they meet the following tests:
  1. necessary;
  2. relevant to planning;
  3. directly related to the proposed development;
  4. fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the proposed development;
  5. reasonable in all other respects.
9.4.16.

Controlling and Combined Impact

Many of the older planning permissions do not include conditions capable of adequately controlling the present day impact of the operation, and do not reflect modern environmental standards. New areas should not be released without consolidation of older permissions if this would mean continuing or worsening these problems. To permit extensions in these circumstances would negate the benefit of any new controls applied to the new area, and permission would therefore be refused. In some cases, it may be possible to impose and enforce suitable conditions in relation to the whole site; where this is not possible the problem may be solved by entering a legal agreement (binding upon subsequent owners and operators) with the Council.

9.4.19.

Hours of Work

It is unreasonable for operations to take place continuously at most Vale mineral sites. The Council will seek to achieve controls over working hours to ensure that mineral working and associated processing does not take place on Sundays or statutory public holidays at any site with 100 metres of residential property or to which access has to be gained by an unclassified road passing residential property. Exceptions may have to be made where appropriate to enable continuous production of cement or the production of hot-coated roadstone for off peak highway projects. Such restrictions will apply to those sites likely to cause disturbance to surrounding residents, or to residents along an access route where this is not a main road (defined for this purpose as a motorway or trunk road, or Class A or B road)

9.4.20.

General Restrictions on Blasting

The use of explosives at all mineral working sites will be controlled to reduce their environmental impact and to avoid excessive or unnecessary restrictions on surrounding development; in particular:

  1. explosives will not be allowed for secondary breaking;
  2. blasting practices will be regularly reviewed to enable technological improvements and changing environmental standards to be taken into account.
9.4.21.

Blasting is strictly controlled for safety reasons by HM Quarries Inspectorate. However, it is essential to consider the environmental consequences of blasting for surrounding land-uses and to enable the Planning Authority to assess proposals both for new or extended mineral working and for new development in its vicinity. Details of how much explosive may be used and in what circumstances will be specified in the conditions of any planning permissions which may be granted, in accordance with area policies and proposals to be set out in the Supplementary Planning Guidance. In consultation with the operator of the site and HM Quarries Inspectorate, the Council will regularly review working methods to reduce their impact on surrounding areas. This may include the use of alternative initiation methods or restrictions on face heights, as well as upper limits on the weight of the explosive. Such controls are in addition to those necessary for safety as agreed with HM Quarries Inspectorate. Secondary blasting is no longer used, nor is it normally necessary; its use causes significantly increased nuisance from noise and air over-pressure to nearby land uses. Any changes following review would need to be agreed with HM Quarries Inspectorate to ensure practices remain safe, and with operators to ensure they do not adversely affect the economics of the business.

POLICY MIN 7 - BUFFER ZONES

NEITHER RESIDENTIAL AND SIMILARLY SENSITIVE DEVELOPMENT NOR MINERAL WORKING WILL BE PERMITTED WITHIN THE BUFFER ZONES DEFINED AROUND EACH EXISTING QUARRY AND ANY PROTECTED MINERAL RESOURCES ON THE PROPOSALS MAP, UNLESS IT CAN BE EMONSTRATED THAT MINERAL WORKING WOULD NOT UNREASONABLY AFFECT SENSITIVE DEVELOPMENT 

9.4.22.

In order that housing and similar sensitive development is not unreasonably affected by quarrying activity and visa-versa, it is essential to preserve a 'Buffer Zone' between them. The width of the zone needed at each site varies according to its environmental impact, and further explanation of the precise extent of each zone is given in Supplementary Planning Guidance.

POLICY MIN 8 - RESTORATION AND AFTER CARE

PROPOSALS FOR MINERAL WORKING OR FOR RELATED PLANT AND BUILDINGS WILL BEPERMITTED ONLY WHERE APPROPRIATE PROPOSALS ARE INCLUDED FOR REINSTATEMENT OF THE SITE TO A CONDITION FIT FOR AN APPROPRIATE AFTER-USE, SUPPORTED WHERE RELEVANT BY ADEQUATE AFTERCARE PROPOSALS. 

9.4.23.

When new planning permissions are granted or when existing permissions are renewed, conditions will be imposed to ensure restoration of the site when mineral working finishes. Operators will generally be expected to agree the broad aims of the restoration scheme at the outset, particularly where water courses or water features are affected by the workings; to keep these aims under regular review throughout working; to prepare detailed proposals within a year of the end of working and to implement the scheme forthwith. Where restoration is to agricultural or amenity use, appropriate aftercare proposals will be needed. Where agriculture is the after-use, it will be expected that the standard of after-use will either reflect the pre-working agricultural quality of the land, or in old permissions will be the best standard possible taking into account current site circumstances (soil availability,topography and location). 

9.4.24.

Proposals for mineral extraction will be expected to be accompanied by detailed soil and, where appropriate, habitat surveys. Comprehensive programmes for the stripping and storage of topsoil and subsoil and the conservation of other soil forming materials should form part of the initial restoration proposals, which will be expected to provide for phased and progressive restoration of worked out areas. 

9.4.25.

In some cases it may be necessary to import material as part of a restoration scheme (e.g. to create a level surface or to provide a growing medium for new planting). Infilling with waste on any significant scale would normally require its own planning permission and Waste Management Licence from the Environment Agency. In addition, most of the Vale lies within 13km of either Cardiff International Airport or RAF St. Athan. Within this distance, the Civil Aviation Authority and Ministry of Defence would need to be consulted on any proposals.

POLICY MIN 9 - ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROLS (SECONDARY MATERIALS)

PROPOSALS FOR THE USE OF SECONDARY MATERIALS WILL BE PERMITTED WHERE IT CAN BE DEMONSTRATED THAT THE OPERATION CAN BE CONTROLLED TO MINIMISE ITS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT IN RESPECT OF:

  1. WORKING METHODS;
  2. HOURS OF OPERATION;
  3. ACCESS ARRANGEMENTS;
  4. AVIATION SAFETY;
  5. MEASURES TO CONTROL POLLUTION OF AIR, WATERCOURSES AND SURROUNDNG LAND;
  6. EFFECTS ON NATURE CONSERVATION;
  7. EFFECTS ON VISUAL AND RESIDENTIAL AMENITY;
AND THAT APPROPRIATE LANDSCAPING, RESTORATION AND AFTERCARE MEASURES ARE PROVIDED.
9.4.26.

If proposals to increase current activity are submitted, the Council will examine them against these criteria in much the same way as any other mineral working. However, there may well be instances when the sale of waste material does not need planning permission. Much will depend on the scale of the operations involved, and there is at present a dearth of information on the industry, commented on by the Arup report 'Occurrence and utilisation of Mineral and Construction Wastes'. Many useful contributions to mineral supply go un-noticed, such as the re-use of demolition materials on site. 

9.4.27.

The re-use of appropriate demolition materials on the site where they arise for rebuilding and new construction projects, including use as fill, not only conserves mineral resources elsewhere but can also reduce traffic problems and prove costeffective. Such measures have been adopted in the past and have proved particularly useful in large redevelopment projects. Disused railway embankments
can provide a further useful source of materials for re-use elsewhere with the added benefit of removing often unsightly embankments and providing more reusable land. 

9.4.28.

OTHER SITES, OTHER MINERALS AND OTHER OPERATIONS

In addition to the mineral sites covered by the site-specific policies in the Supplementary Planning Guidance, the Vale contains various other former mineral workings. These are mainly quarries for either limestone or brickearth that have not been worked for many years and in many cases have either re-vegetated naturally or have been put to alternative uses. For example, Ely Brickworks has been largely covered by the Ely Link Road, Lavernock and Southerndown Road Quarries have been used as waste disposal sites and the large Liassic limestone quarries that served the former Penarth Cement Works flooded when quarrying ceased in the 1960's and have since been incorporated into the Cosmeston Country Park. 

9.4.29.

Despite these long periods of disuse or alternative uses, planning permissions for mineral extraction still exist at some sites. These sites have effectively been abandoned by the minerals industry for many years, and any reserves remaining at them have not been included in the reserve calculations made earlier. To eliminate any doubt over the possible reworking of these sites, further quarrying should be prohibited formally and the sites should be finally restored where appropriate.

POLICY MIN 10 - DERELICT SITES

THE COUNCIL WILL SEEK TO PREVENT FURTHER MINERAL EXTRACTION AT THE FOLLOWING SITES AND, WHERE APPROPRIATE, WILL SEEK TO SECURE RESTORATION AND LANDSCAPING WORKS;

  1. BEAUPRE (LONG GROVE) QUARRY, ST HILARY;
  2. COSMESTON QUARRY, PENARTH;
  3. CNAP TWT QUARRY, CASTLE UPON ALUN;
  4. CROSS COMMON QUARRY, DINAS POWYS;
  5. DOWNSWOOD QUARRY, PENARTH;
  6. ELY BRICKWORKS;
  7. LAVERNOCK QUARRY;
  8. SOUTHERNDOWN ROAD QUARRY,
  9. ARGOED ISHA QUARRY, LLANSANNOR;
  10. ST. ANDREWS QUARRY, ST ANDREWS MAJOR.
9.4.30.

None of these sites has operated during the last 15 years, none is in a suitable location for mineral working by today's environmental standards, and in some cases the mineral is no longer needed. Even the peak output years of the 1970s and early 1980s failed to generate interest in re-opening these sites, and several have long been used for other purposes. It is time to end the uncertainty over their current planning status. 

9.4.31.

All these sites are classified as 'dormant' under the provisions of the Environment Act 1995, where no further mineral extraction is permitted to take place until full modern working conditions have  been agreed with the Council. Whilst the Council recognises that planning permissions for quarrying remain valid at these sites, every opportunity will be taken to secure their permanent closure. 

9.4.33.

Other Minerals

There is little commercial interest at present in any minerals in the Vale except limestones. The small scale of vein minerals workings, most of which have been disused for over 100 years, makes renewed interest in them unlikely, but it is important that locations of these underground mines are recorded and remaining shafts made safe, for security and safety reasons.

POLICY MIN 11 - DISUSED MINESHAFTS

PROPOSALS TO MAKE SAFE DISUSED UNDERGROUND MINEWORKINGS THROUGH APPROPRIATE WORKS TO MINE ENTRANCES WILL BE FAVOURED. 

9.4.34.

Concern in recent years has led some Counties to investigate and record the incidence of this problem. Although the Vale of Glamorgan has not experienced the major mining activity of many Counties in the past, there are nevertheless still many known shafts and adits whose presence could become dangerous or could inhibit other land uses if not adequately capped or fenced. Some occur within modern quarries, where the eventual restoration scheme will need to include provision for such works. There may well be additional sites, whose presence should be recorded centrally. 

9.4.35.

It is not considered necessary to include further policies on other minerals at this stage, in view of the lack of interest by the industry in other minerals in the Vale at present. In the event of renewed exploration activity, it will clearly be necessary to address the policy issues raised in a review of this plan. In the meantime, the policies above will provide an adequate framework for decision-making. In addition to the policies above, specific attention would be given under the Environmental Protection policies, and any resources identified would be considered for protection in the same manner as limestone resources in policies MIN 2 and MIN 3 above. 

9.4.36.

Other Operations

In addition to cement manufacture, other industries in the Vale heavily reliant on minerals include concrete batching and coated roadstone plants. These can be located within quarries or alongside sand wharves to minimise transportation costs of raw materials, on sites where the product is needed (usually only temporarily), or on industrial sites near to main demand centres. At present, only Ewenny, Lithalun and Wenvoe Quarries contain such plants.

9.4.37.

Policies relating to such processes at existing mineral workings are included in the site-specific policies given in Supplementary Planning Guidance. These identify sites which are not suitable for such purposes. Plants would be governed by the same environmental policies as the minerals operations. Plants in general industrial and port locations would be considered within the context of the general policies of this Plan and are not considered here. 

9.5.

IMPLEMENTATION

9.5.1.

Most mineral development is undertaken by agencies outside the direct control of the Council. In most cases the effect of policies in this plan will be to guide development to or from particular sites, or to require development to be carried out in a particular way. 

9.5.2.

The minerals policies will be implemented by a variety of means, some of which will take immediate effect whilst others will result in actual change on the ground only as opportunities arise. The most obvious vehicle for implementation is through the determination of applications for planning permission. The UDP and the Supplementary Planning Guidance provide a framework for the determination of such applications and for the environmental controls likely to be included in such
decisions. This applies both to proposals directly related to minerals and to proposals for other types of development on land within Buffer Zones. 

9.5.3.

Planning obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provide another means of putting the Plan into practice. These are often entered into in relation to particular planning applications, but may also be negotiated in other circumstances. 

9.5.4.

The review of mineral working permissions under the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 and Environment Act 1995 enables the Council, through assessment of the adequacy of planning controls at each site, to introduce appropriate changes to give effect to the Plan's policies. 

9.5.5.

Arising from the review, and also in responding to events generally, the Council will make appropriate use of its statutory powers to implement its policies where necessary. Such powers include the making of Prohibition, Suspension, Revocation, Modification and Discontinuance Orders. 

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