Inspector backs Oxfordshire minerals and waste strategy

A plan which will govern how Oxfordshire’s minerals and waste needs will be met for fifteen years has received Government support.

Oxfordshire County Council’s new minerals and waste core strategy, which outlines the planning strategy and policies for the supply of minerals and the management of waste in Oxfordshire until 2031, is set to be adopted following support from the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.

Independent conclusions and modifications

Following an independent examination of the strategy, the Inspector concluded that the strategy, with modifications, meets legal requirements and provides a sound and appropriate basis for the planning of future quarrying and waste management in Oxfordshire for the next 15 years.

Minerals include sand, gravel, limestone, ironstone and clay, which are all naturally occurring materials dug from the ground, and recycled concrete and ash.

The report follows public examination hearings in September 2016, and the county council carrying out further sustainability appraisal which was consulted on alongside proposed main modifications to the strategy in February 2017.

The core strategy includes measures to strengthen protection of the amenity of communities living close to proposed sites, ensure that adequate measures are taken to protect the water environment, agricultural land and soils, biodiversity and geodiversity, the landscape, and the historic environment, and to secure high quality restoration of minerals and waste sites.

The Planning Inspector’s findings will be reported to the council’s Cabinet on 18 July and to Full Council on 12 September. At the council meeting a decision will be made on the adoption of the core strategy itself.

Hard work and public debate

Councillor Yvonne Constance, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “I am pleased that the planning inspector’s report concludes that subject to the incorporation of the main modifications the core strategy is sound and legally compliant and can now be adopted.

“This represents the outcome of many years of hard work and public debate on this important statutory document and we now have a very clear planning strategy for mineral provision and waste management in the county up to 2031.

“I would like to thank everyone for their input in helping to develop a strategy that will meet our county’s future minerals and waste needs while minimising the impact on Oxfordshire’s environment and local residents. It is a very important balance to strike.”

What modifications need to be made?

The main modifications include:

  • Confirming the amount of minerals required over the course of the strategy
  • Promoting the role of recycled and secondary aggregates
  • Clarifying that there will not be a ceiling on the amount of waste management capacity for recycling, composting and food waste treatment, provided the development is otherwise acceptable
  • Confirming the general spatial strategies for where minerals and waste development can be located.

Following the adoption of the core strategy, work will begin on preparing the Site Allocations Document which will identify sites which are considered suitable in principle, subject to necessary planning permission, for future minerals and waste development.

Why does Oxfordshire need this plan?

The Oxfordshire Minerals and Waste Local Plan: Part 1 - Core Strategy includes:

  • the approach the county council will take in making decisions on future minerals and waste related development
  • guidelines for where, when and how much minerals and waste related development should take place in the county
  • policies for each mineral type and the different types of waste produced
  • specific policies relating to development management issues such as transport and protection of the environment and communities.

For more information

The Inspector’s report and more information about the development of the core strategy are available on the Oxfordshire County Council website here.