Around 60 tonnes of sand and gravel go into the fabric of a house, and 20 different minerals into making a vehicle. The UK uses 250 million tonnes of aggregates in construction projects each year - about 4 tonnes per person.
Mineral extraction used to be unmanaged, regardless of any adverse effects. Modern legislation requires planning for the sites needed to provide the volumes of minerals required for future needs. We also need to minimise environmental damage and secure the restoration of sites and beneficial future use. Specific legislation and government policy supports managed mineral extraction.
Besides quarrying, mineral extraction also includes brick clay, metals, coal, oil, natural gas and water. Currently these are not worked in this county, but future potential exists, as resources become scarce and technology progresses.
Planning requirements and legislation
There are some 28 Acts of Parliament and Statutory Regulations which directly refer to mineral planning issues. The EU Mining Waste Directive places further responsibilities on minerals operators with regard to spoil heaps and other quarry wastes. Other EU Directives also affect mineral sites, including:
- The Water Framework Directive
- The Waste Framework Directive
Mineral planning has been excluded from Neighbourhood Planning requirements as it demands a strategic approach. However, the Localism Act sets a Duty to Co-operate which requires neighbouring authorities to collaborate on mineral provision.