Following consultations on the review of the adopted Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-2030 and associated update to the Kent Mineral Sites Plan, to agree to:
(i) Approve and publish for public consultation (Regulation 19) a Pre-Submission Draft of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2024-39 for representations on soundness and legal compliance;
(ii) To agree to submit the Pre-Submission Draft of Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2024-39 to Government for Independent Examination into its soundness and legal compliance following public consultation;
(iii)Delegate powers to the Corporate Director for Growth, Environment & Transport to approve any non-material changes to the draft Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2024-39 in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment following on from the public consultation and to agree to any amendments to the Plan during the Examination in Public for submission to the appointed Planning Inspector, if these amendments are likely to resolve objections; and
(iv)To agree a revised Local Development Scheme (timetable) for work related to mineral and waste planning policy in Kent.
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 2023 (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). Amongst other matters, these Regulations set out a legal requirement for public consultation at key stages of the plan making process.
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, as well as development management policies against which planning applications for these types of development should be assessed.
Regulations require local plans to be reviewed every five years 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 Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan Review commenced in 2021 and concluded a need for updates to the Plan including to the Vision, Strategic Objectives, Policies and supporting text to 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, those concerned with climate change and protection and enhancement of the natural environment. The proposed revisions to the KMWLP have been subject to an initial consultation with key stakeholders followed by three public consultations (Regulation 18) since 2021 which have provided an opportunity for stakeholders and communities to comment on the Council’s draft proposals for updates to the KMWLP as well as to comment on whether other changes were needed.
The proposed changes to the KMWLP include an extended plan period which, following a review of recent data on permitted mineral reserves and supply, has resulted in a need to identify an additional site(s) for the working of hard rock to ensure the necessary steady and adequate supply is maintained over the plan period in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). A ‘Call for Sites’ took place last year and a draft update to the Kent Mineral Sites Plan (KMSP) which included details of a nominated hard rock site, was prepared and has been subject to public consultation (Regulation 18). A further Call for Sites took place in September.
Pre-Submission (Regulation 19) Draft of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2024-39
A Pre-Submission Draft of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2024-39 has been prepared which takes account of the consultation exercises related to the updating of the KMWLP and does not propose any further substantive changes that have not been previously consulted on.
It is now proposed that the Pre-Submission Draft of the KMWLP 2024-39 be submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination by a Government-appointed Inspector. Prior to submission a statutory six-week public consultation for representations on soundness and legal compliance is required in accordance with Regulation 19 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (as amended).
During the examination, the Inspector will consider all representations received and may choose to convene public hearings. If requested by the Council, the Inspector can discuss changes needed to ensure soundness (known as ‘main modifications’). If such changes are necessary, agreement is sought to delegate powers to the Corporate Director for Growth, Environment & Transport to approve any non-material changes to the draft Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2024-39 in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment following on from the public consultation and to agree to amendments to the KMWLP during the independent examination, for agreement with the appointed Planning Inspector, if these amendments are likely to resolve objections.
It is important to note that the modifications to the KMWLP can only be adopted by the County Council following receipt of an Inspector’s report that finds the Plan and any main modifications sound and legally compliant. In order to adopt the Plan, the Inspector’s report and any modifications would be considered by ETCC, Cabinet Committee and County Council.
As well as the Pre-Submission Draft of the KMWLP 2024-39 and the Local Development Scheme (LDS), the following will be reported to the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee for its consideration:
• Summary of comments received during the public consultations from October to December 2022 and from June to July 2023 on the review of the KMWLP and the Council’s proposed response; and,
• Sustainability Appraisal.
Update to the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Development Scheme (LDS)
The Regulations require local plan making work to be undertaken in accordance with a published timetable or ‘Development Scheme’. The timetable for the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan is set out in the Council’s ‘Minerals and Waste Local Development Scheme’ (LDS). The most recent LDS was agreed by Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee (ETCC) in May 2023.
Following the public consultation (Regulation 18) on the draft Kent Mineral Sites Plan which included details of the nominated hard rock site and the representations received, further evidence gathering is required to ensure that the updated plan is robust and justified. This further evidence gathering includes detailed technical assessment of the suitability of the nominated site on a variety of considerations and constraints, an assessment of potential alternative sources of hard rock that would be capable of meeting identified need including a further call for sites, a review of additional assessments that are being undertaking by the site promoter, further consultation with key stakeholders including Natural England, and preparation of an updated Sustainability Appraisal that takes account of the above as well as comments received on the draft document. In light of the extent of the further evidence gathering activities required, which includes a further Call for Sites, there is a need to extend the timetable for preparing the updated Mineral Sites Plan which is set out in an updated LDS.
The Executive Decision
This Executive Decision addresses: the approval for public consultation (Regulation 19) of a Pre-Submission Draft of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2024-39; to agree to submit the Pre-Submission Draft of Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2024-39 to Government for Independent Examination following public consultation; delegate powers to the Corporate Director for Growth, Environment & Transport to approve any non-material changes to the draft Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2024-39 in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment following on from the public consultation and to agree to any amendments to the KMWLP during the Examination in Public for submission to the appointed planning inspector, if these amendments are likely to resolve objections; and to agree a revised LDS.
How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent’s Future 2022-26:
The KMWLP, in particular its Vision, Strategic Objectives and planning policies, helps 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 and Kent Mineral Sites Plan recognise 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 planning strategy 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 updated policies support the protection and creation of a high-quality environment, with accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs.
Decision type: Key
Decision status: Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 17/10/2023
Decision due: 15 Nov 2023 by Cabinet Member for Environment
Reason: To allow the required 28 day notice period under Executive Decision arrangements
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 a number of consultations required by legislation.
To inform the work of updating the KMWLP, initial evidence gathering with key stakeholders was carried out from March to April 2021. Public consultation was then carried out from December 2021 - February 2022, from October 2022 to December 2022, and from June 2023 to July 2023. Details of the most recent consultation can be viewed athttps://letstalk.kent.gov.uk/kent-minerals-and-waste-local-plan-2024-2039. Further public consultation on the Pre-Submission Draft of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2024-39 for representations on soundness and legal compliance (Regulation 19) is required prior to the Local Plan being submitted to the Secretary of State for Independent Examination.
A Kent Mineral Sites Plan ‘Call for Sites’ in relation to hard rock was carried out from October 2022 - December 2022, followed by a public consultation on the draft Kent Mineral Sites Plan which included details of the nominated hard rock site from June 2023 to July 2023. Details of the most recent public consultation can be viewed at https://letstalk.kent.gov.uk/msp-nominated-hard-rock-site. In response to the comments received, a further Call for Sites for hard rock took place from 31 August 2023 to 12 October 2023, details can be viewed at https://letstalk.kent.gov.uk/call-for-sites-second-round.
The timing of public consultation and engagement and the representations received influence the timescale set out in the Local Development Scheme. The Scheme has been updated to reflect further evidence gathering required for the emerging Kent Minerals Sites Plan.
The proposed decision will be considered at the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee on 15 November 2023.
Financial implications: The costs of preparing the revised LDS and associated Local Plan work are met from the Growth and Communities Division - Planning Applications budget. The balance, mainly relating to specialist advice and the independent examination may need to be sought from a corporate reserve.
Legal implications: The County Council has a statutory responsibility to review its Local Plan every five years and to prepare revised policy and guidance as necessary in accordance with the Regulations. The timescale for the local plan work is required to be set out in a LDS and plan making is required to proceed in accordance with that timetable. Failure to have an up-to-date LDS may mean that plan making would not be legally compliant and that the Plans could not be adopted.
Equalities implications: Equalities implications: An Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA) is undertaken as part of the local plan work. No equalities implications are anticipated to arise from this work. Data Protection implications: None