Following consultation on the refresh of the adopted Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-2030 to agree to:
(i) Approve and publish for public consultation (Regulation 18) a draft updated Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan covering the period 2023-2038;
(ii) prepare an update of the Mineral Sites Plan for Kent in respect of hard rock;
(iii) undertake a ‘Call for Sites’ to support the Minerals Sites Plan work;
(iv) a revised Local Development Scheme (timetable) for the Local Plan work reflecting the above;
(v) the draft Site Selection Methodology to be used in assessing the suitability of sites as part of the Mineral Sites Plan work; and
(vi) delegate to the Corporate Director of Growth, Environment and Transport the authority to approve any non-material changes to the draft Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2023- 2038 and the Site Selection Methodology in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment prior to their publication for consultation.
Reason for decision:
The County Council has a statutory responsibility to plan for future minerals supply and waste management within Kent as set out in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, National Planning Policy Framework 2021 (NPPF) and the National Planning Policy for Waste 2014 (NPPW). This responsibility is realised through the preparation of a Local Plan, prepared in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (The Regulations).
The Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-30 (KMWLP) was adopted by Full Council in July 2016, with changes made to a limited number of policies in 2020 resulting from an ‘Early Partial Review’. This along with the Kent Mineral Sites Plan 2020 currently represents the planning policy framework for minerals and waste development in Kent. The KMWLP contains a number of policies relating to strategic planning for minerals supply and waste management capacity, as well as development management policies against which planning applications for these types of development should be assessed. The KMWLP also includes a number of policies related to the safeguarding of mineral resources and waste management facilities.
The Regulations require local planning authorities to review their local plans every five years. This is to ensure that the policies remain relevant, conform to national policy and guidance and satisfactorily address the needs for waste management and mineral supply. Work on the KMWLP review commenced in 2021 and involved an assessment of the 2016 policies that were not revised as a result of the 2020 Early Partial Review work. As a result of the review work, revisions were proposed to the adopted KMWLP including changes to its Vision, Strategic Objectives and policies to principally reflect changes in national policy and guidance since 2016.These include amongst others, changes to the National Planning Policy Framework, government policy and guidance on the achievement of a circular economy and those concerned with climate change and protection and enhancement of the natural environment. Revised draft policy and supporting text were prepared. These changes were subject to public consultation from December 2021 to February 2022.
Comments received as a result of public consultation addressed a wide range of planning considerations including the need to extend the Plan period to cover a 15 year period to meet NPPF requirements. This would move the end date of the Plan period from 2030 to 2038. The key consequence of changing the plan period relates to the amount of land won aggregate that needs to be planned for. Assessment of recent data on aggregate sales and permitted reserves indicates that additional reserves will be needed to ensure the required steady and adequate supply of aggregate (hard rock) is maintained over the plan period. As the Mineral Sites Plan, adopted in 2020, includes site allocations that allow for provision up until 2030, additional allocation(s) need to be identified for inclusion in a revised Mineral Sites Plan that will meet the requirements of the extended plan period. It is therefore proposed to prepare an update of the Mineral Sites Plan for Kent in respect of hard rock alongside the update to the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan.
The first task in updating the Mineral Sites Plan is a “Call for Sites” process in which operators and land-owners are invited to submit sites for consideration. These sites are then assessed for their suitability for potential allocation for mineral extraction using a Site Selection Methodology. A similar methodology was employed during the preparation of the adopted Mineral Sites Plan and has been updated to reflect current legislation and planning policy.
Further changes to the KMWLP are proposed in light of the comments received and it is now proposed to publish the revised KMWLP for a further period of public consultation in accordance with Regulation 18 of the Regulations before a final draft is prepared. Ultimately, prior to their adoption, Local Plans must be found both legally compliant and sound by an independent planning inspector. To be sound Local Plans must meet the tests of being positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy.
The Regulations require local plan making work to be undertaken in accordance with a published timetable or ‘Development Scheme’. The timetable for the KMWLP is set out in the Council’s Minerals and Waste Development Scheme (MWDS). The most recent MWDS was considered by the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee (ETCC) and agreed by the Cabinet Member in January 2021. It anticipates publication of a final draft revised KMWLP for representations on its legality and soundness (in accordance with Regulation 19 of the Regulations) in September 2022. In light of the above, an updated MWDS is needed that reflects the need for a further Regulation 18 consultation and the process of updating the Mineral Sites Plan.
As well as the updated KMWLP and MWDS, the following is to be reported to the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee for its consideration:
This Executive Decision addresses: The approval for public consultation (Regulation 18) of an updated KMWLP covering the period 2023-38; the preparation of an updated Kent Mineral Sites Plan allocating a new hard rock site(s); approval to undertake a ‘Call for Sites’ to support the Minerals Sites Plan work; to agree the Site Selection Methodology for the assessment of promoted mineral sites; and to agree an updated MWDS.
How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent’s Future :
The KMWLP delivers the Council’s adopted mineral and waste planning strategy and policies and is essential to the effective determination of planning applications for minerals and waste development in Kent. The KMWLP follows national planning policy and guidance but importantly provides a local perspective. In particular, the mineral and waste Vision, Strategic Objectives and planning policies help facilitate the key strategic priorities of an Environmental Step Change and Infrastructure for Communities by supporting the delivery of sustainable growth in Kent’s economy. The KMWLP recognises Kent’s environment as a core asset and seeks to adapt to, and mitigate the impacts of climate change and assist in the delivery of net zero objectives. The proposed revised KMWLP will reflect recent changes to the environmental agenda including mitigation and adaptation to Climate Change and Kent’s Climate Change Statement, the Circular Economy, biodiversity and measures to support covid recovery. In addition, the proposed policies support the protection and creation of a high-quality environment, with accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs. It supports the County Council’s strategic strategy, Framing Kent’s Future 2022-2026, which sets the Council’s priorities for the next 4 years.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;
Decision status: For Determination
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 30/08/2022
Decision due: Not before 28th Sep 2022 by Cabinet Member for Environment
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Environment
Lead director: Stephanie Holt-Castle
Department: Growth, Environment & Transport
Consultation and community engagement are key parts of the plan making process with consultation required by legislation. Consultation will take place in accordance with the County Council’s Statement of Community Involvement. To inform the work of updating the KMWLP, public consultation was carried out from December 2021 – February 2022. Details of the consultation can be viewed at https://letstalk.kent.gov.uk/kmwlpreview. This has informed the further proposed changes to the KMWLP on which further consultation is proposed. A mandate for this consultation is requested as set out above.
The proposed decision was considered and endorsed by Members of the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee at their meeting on 8th September 2022.
Financial implications: The majority of the costs of preparing the KMWLP and the Kent Mineral Sites Plan are met from the Growth and Communities Division - Planning Applications budget. The balance, mainly relating to specialist advice and the independent examination will be sought from a corporate reserve.
Legal implications: The County Council has a statutory responsibility to review its Local Plan every 5 years and to prepare revised policy and guidance as necessary in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012. Failure to have an up to date Plan risks the Secretary of State appointing others to undertake the Council’s plan making function.
Equalities implications: Equalities implications: An Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA) has been undertaken as part of the preparation of the new Local Plan and Mineral Sites Plan. No equalities implications are anticipated to arise from this work. Data Protection implications: None