Sunderland City Council
   
Chapter 9 - Environmental Protection
 
12.1

The City possesses a variety of valuable mineral resources which play a part in meeting local, regional and national requirements.  Mineral extraction has been one of the most significant activities shaping the development of the City over the past two centuries.  Extraction has transformed the landscape, leaving behind huge quarry voids and colliery spoil heaps.  Many of the City's communities either grew up to serve the coal industry or owe their present size and importance to its influence.

12.2 Mineral extraction and waste disposal are frequently linked together, because the voids which result from quarrying and mining can often provide suitable sites for the disposal of large quantities of waste, hence the joint consideration of these matters in this chapter.  Once infilling is complete, a site can then be reclaimed for a variety of end-uses.
   
  MINERALS
   
12.3

The term 'minerals' encompasses 'non-energy' minerals such as aggregates and building stone, and 'energy' minerals such as deep-mined and opencast coal, oil and natural gas.  Sunderland is relatively rich in limestone resources and has workable deposits of sand and gravel, sandstone and coal.  It is also within an area in which oil and gas deposits may possibly be found.

   
  Non-energy Minerals
12.4

Non-energy minerals can be conveniently divided into aggregates and non-aggregates.  Aggregates are bulk materials used in the construction industry for purposes such as making concrete, road surfacing, mortar, etc or in constructing foundations and embankments.  The main types of 'primary' aggregates are sand and gravel (both land-won and marine dredged), and crushed rock (mainly limestone).  'Secondary' aggregates are waste materials such as minestone, crushed coal, pulverised fuel ash, and demolition and construction arisings.  Recycled aggregates include materials such as asphalt road planings.  Non-aggregate minerals are those used as raw materials in industrial processes such as clay in brick-making and limestone in steel-making, or as building stone.

12.5

Over the past decade, Sunderland's main contribution to meeting local, regional and national requirements has been in providing Permian yellow sand and crushed rock from quarries on the magnesian limestone escarpment.  These quarries have now reached, or are approaching, exhaustion and there are no extant permissions for wholly new quarries.

12.6

The locations of major potentially workable non-energy mineral resources, shown in Fig. 12.1, do not represent proven reserves, but rather include deposits which although not, perhaps, currently exploitable, may have some conceivable long term future use where environmental and other constraints allow.  Fig. 12.1 is intended purely as a factual statement of local geology and permitted workings and is not to be taken as a statement of Council policy towards applications for mineral extraction in the areas shown.  Of the different types of mineral shown, magnesian limestone covers the greatest area and is found mainly to the east of the limestone escarpment in the vicinity of High and Low Moorsley, Hetton Downs, Newbottle and Penshaw.  Existing and former quarries on the escarpment are located at Houghton, Field House and Eppleton.  Second most prevalent are sand and gravel deposits which are found in the Burdon, Warden Law and Eppleton areas.  Thirdly, basal Permian sand deposits are found adjacent to the limestone deposits at High Moorsley, Hetton Downs, Houghton-le-Spring, Newbottle, New Herrington and Penshaw.  Finally, workable sandstone deposits are found in the Springwell area.

   
  Energy Minerals
12.7 Coal can be worked by opencast methods where deposits lie close to the surface; any future extraction in the City is likely to be by such means.  A major constraint to opencasting is the magnesian limestone escarpment extending from Downhill to High Moorsley (shown on the Proposals Map as the eastern limit of the shallow coalfield area).  Opencast working east of the escarpment is restricted by the limestone strata which reach depths of up to 400m.  West of the escarpment, opencasting is likely to affect areas of countryside which are often of landscape value or covered by such designations as SSSI's.  However, there are cases, particularly where there has been earlier mining resulting in some degree of surface dereliction, where opencasting and subsequent restoration might provide environmental benefits.
   
  WASTE DISPOSAL
   
12.8

'Waste' arises from a variety of sources.  The major types are household, commercial/ industrial refuse and building rubble.  Other more problematic forms include hazardous industrial/ clinical waste, and sewage sludge.

12.9

Recent legislation has introduced major changes in the way in which waste disposal is operated and managed.  The 1990 Environmental Protection Act separated the local authority functions of waste regulation and waste disposal, requiring the latter to be contracted out to 'arm's-length' Local Authority Waste Disposal Companies (LAWDC's) or to the private sector.  As a result, local authorities no longer have a direct operational role in waste disposal sites.

12.10

The City Council is now required to place contracts by competitive tender for waste disposal arrangements/facilities in respect of the waste it collects.  The unit price is the most significant factor in the disposal of this municipal waste although haulage costs, environmental effects and the capacity for recycling may also be taken into account.  All of the landfill sites currently under contract are located outside the City boundaries, a reflection largely of economic factors.

   
  Types of Waste
12.11

Household and Commercial -  Most household and commercial/industrial refuse collected and disposed of by the City Council (113,000 tonnes in 1993/94) was previously incinerated at Beach Street.  The incinerator was closed in 1993 because the cost of modernisation to meet new EC emission standards was found to be prohibitive.  Such waste is now landfilled at privately-operated sites outside the City, predominantly at Birtley.

12.12

Construction -  Rubble resulting from construction, demolition and excavation is generally inert but bulky and is either re-used as fill in new construction projects or landfilled.  Several major voids - Fulwell Quarry, Ford Quarry and most recently Warden Law Quarry - have been reclaimed by infilling with this material.

12.13

Hazardous and Clinical -  The majority of hazardous liquid waste arising in Sunderland and the rest of Tyne and Wear is presently landfilled at Ryton-Greenside Quarries (in Gateshead) or in the adjoining counties of Durham and Northumberland; some is sent to other counties for treatment.  The availability of landfill sites in adjoining counties is becoming increasingly limited, leading to increased commercial interest in developing land-based incineration plants to serve the Region.  Clinical waste from Sunderland's hospitals is sent to Newcastle for treatment.

12.14

Sewage and Sewage Sludge -  Except for a very small part of Washington which drains into Chester-le-Street District, the City is served by three main sewage treatment works, at Hendon, Sedgeletch and Washington (Barmston) (see fig. 12.2).  Major investment is required to enable the sewerage system to accommodate the increased demands placed upon it by existing and proposed development and the implementation of EC directives.  The latter will require full treatment of sewage at land-based sites, bringing to an end the use of long outfalls for preliminary-treated sewage and the sea dumping of sludge.  The Hendon works falls short of the new standards whilst Sedgeletch also needs to be up-graded.  In addition, the Sedgeletch and Washington works are understood to be at or approaching capacity and may require additional investment in plant for this reason.

12.15 The combined effect of the new requirements will be to double the amount of treated sewage sludge produced, at the same time that the traditional means of disposal is ruled out.  A range of methods exist for land-based disposal, including incineration, landfill, spreading on farmland (except where sludge is contaminated with toxic industrial waste), and composting as an additive to industrial waste.  The long-term solution in this respect has still to be resolved.
   
  Waste Recycling
12.16

Present facilities for recycling are mainly small-scale local collection points sited adjacent to schools and large supermarkets.  They currently include paperbanks at 24 locations, bottle bins at ten locations, textile banks at eight locations and canbanks at Sainsbury's supermarket on Silksworth Lane, Morrison's at Seaburn, and the Galleries at Washington.  Larger vehicle and industrial metal waste is treated at scrapyards registered with the Environment Agency; there were 19 such sites in the City at June 1997.

   
  Existing and Potential Voidspace
12.17

Major landfill sites currently operating within the City are at Houghton Quarry and within the worked-out portion of Springwell Quarry.  Further opportunities for new landfill sites could be provided during the Plan period at Eppleton Quarry and through the working-out of Field House and Hetton Moor Farm quarries.

   
  Table 12.1 : Existing and Potential Voidspace April 1997
 

Quarry

Existing or potential void
(million cubic metres)

Cessation of Quarrying

Eppleton Quarry

2.75

Ceased

Field House Quarry

1.401

By 2000

Houghton Quarry

3.69

Ceased: infilling begun 1997

Springwell Quarry

1.00+2

After 2036

1  Being developed: figure is volume stated in 1997 application for determination of conditions
2  Being developed: figure is volume currently licensed for waste disposal

 

Source: Planning Service records

   
12.18

The quarry voids are a scarce resource and priorities will need to be determined if they are to be used for the most appropriate waste at the most appropriate time.  Any proposals will need to be assessed in the light of the Environment Agency's policy for groundwater protection, to ensure that pollution of aquifers does not occur.

   
  PLANNING POLICY CONTEXT
   
  Minerals
12.19

Government policy on mineral extraction is set out in the Minerals Planning Guidance Note series (MPG1 to MPG15 - see Glossary).  Following its approval in 1989, the Tyne and Wear Minerals Local Plan, together with the Structure Plan, provided the statutory framework for control over the working of non-energy minerals in the County.  Policies in the Minerals Plan were designed to ensure that local, regional and national supply requirements were met insofar as this could be reconciled with maintaining the environment of the County, and that mineral deposits which might be required in the long-term were safeguarded against forms of development that would have caused their unnecessary sterilisation.  The Plan did not propose sites for new quarries in the City but did contain proposals for existing quarries, allowing for extraction, reclamation and after-use at Field House and Springwell, limited growth at Eppleton and the reclamation of Warden Law Quarry.  Its policies and proposals were intended to cover the period up to 2001.  Strategic Guidance indicated that UDP's should have regard to the provisions of the Minerals Plan.

12.20

The regional context for the aggregate sector of non-energy minerals planning is set by the Northern Region Working Party on Aggregates (NRWPA).  The 1991 NRWPA Regional Commentary concluded that permitted reserves were sufficient to cater for the estimated demand in the short term and that a regional "status quo" would meet demand for aggregates to the year 2011.  It considered that the expected deficiency in supplies of crushed rock in Tyne and Wear could be met from elsewhere in the Region, subject to possible environmental, traffic and landbank implications to be further investigated.

12.21

MPG6 (Guidelines for Aggregates Provision), published in April 1994, provides guidance on the provision of aggregates in England.  On the basis of anticipated demand, it estimates that the Northern Region would need to produce 245 million tonnes (mt) of aggregates from primary landwon sources between 1992 and 2006.  The guidance requests mineral planning authorities (MPA's) in the Northern Region collectively to make provision in their development plans for 50mt of sand and gravel and 195mt of crushed rock.  It also requests that landbanks of these minerals equivalent to at least seven years' extraction be maintained for appropriate local areas.

12.22 The apportionment of the Government's guidance figures within the Region has been completed by the MPA's, with the advice of the NRWPA.  The sub-regional apportionment is generally achieved on a County basis, with, in the past, local production from quarries in Sunderland counting towards Tyne and Wear's contribution.  The County basis remains appropriate for sand and gravel production but is no longer appropriate for Magnesian limestone, which is Tyne and Wear’s main contribution to crushed rock supplies.  The Inspector’s report on the Tyne and Wear Minerals Local Plan accepted that Tyne and Wear is a highly urbanised area whose boundaries have little relevance to the operation of markets for aggregates.  A single landbank for crushed rock from the Magnesian limestone escarpment will therefore apply, consistent with the NRWPA’s single apportionment figure for this mineral.  The apportionment/landbank areas to which quarries in Sunderland will contribute are as follows:
 
  • Sand and gravel -  Tyne and Wear remains the appropriate local area for the apportionment exercise and the application of a County landbank.  Permitted reserves in Tyne and Wear are equal to the forecast demand - 8 million tonnes, equivalent to some 14 years' supply  (Aggregates Monitoring 1994).
 
  • Crushed rock(magnesian limestone) -  The NRWPA recognises that, for magnesian limestone, local circumstances necessitate combining figures for Tyne and Wear with those for Co. Durham (See Fig.12.3).  Permitted reserves in Tyne and Wear amounted to 2.7 million tonnes at the start of 1994, which represents approximately 5 years supply at current rates of extraction.
 

The general approach of the Tyne and Wear Minerals Local Plan therefore remains an appropriate basis for the minerals policies of the Tyne and Wear UDPs.

12.23

With regard to energy minerals (in Sunderland presently coal but potentially including oil and gas), the Government considers that it is not for the planning system to seek to set national limits on or targets for any particular source or level of energy supply.  Instead, Government policy is based on striking a balance between the economic importance of these minerals and the protection of the environment.  Specifically with regard to oil and gas, Government policy is to encourage exploration for and production of the country's own reserves where this is compatible with environmental objectives.  Strategic Guidance refers authorities to the advice given in Circular 2/85 (Oil and Gas Operations).

   
  Waste Disposal
12.24

Current Government policy towards land-use planning for waste disposal is influenced by the EC Waste Framework Directive (1975, amended 1991).  This sets out a number of objectives which are to be implemented through UK control regimes for waste, which include the town and country planning system.  The Directive is transposed into English law by the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994.  These Regulations require the competent authorities to discharge specified functions in relation to waste recovery/disposal so as to meet ‘relevant objectives’.  The relevant objectives likely to be applicable in a planning context relate to:

 
  • ensuring that waste is recovered or disposed of without using processes or methods which could harm the environment and in particular without causing nuisance through noise, or adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest;
  • implementing, so far as material, any development plan; and
  • (in relation to waste disposal only) establishing an integrated and adequate network of waste disposal installations, enabling the EC as a whole to become more self-sufficient in waste disposal, and enabling waste to be disposed of at one of the nearest appropriate installations.
12.25

EC directives aimed at improving air and water quality will also affect waste disposal practices.  The 1989 Directive on the Reduction of Air Pollution from Existing Municipal Waste-Incineration Plants imposes new standards for emissions from some types of incinerator whilst the Bathing Waters Directive and the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive control the dumping of waste (including untreated sewage) at sea.

12.26

In regard to the recovery of waste, the White Paper ‘This Common Inheritance’ set a target to recycle at least 50% of all recyclable material by the year 2000 (which equates to a quarter of all household waste).  The 1990 Environmental Protection Act places a duty on the City Council as waste collection authority to prepare a Waste Recycling Plan, which was published in draft in 1992.  The Government has further elaborated its strategy for sustainable waste management in the White Paper ‘Making Waste Work’, published in December 1995 (See Table 12.2).

   
  Table 12.2: Selected Targets from the Government's Sustainable Waste Management Strategy
 
  • Recycle or compost 25% of household waste by 2000
  • Achieve easily accessible recycling facilities for 80% of households by the year 2000
  • 40% of domestic properties with a garden to carry out home composting by the year 2000
  • Recover value from 40% of municipal waste by 2005
  • Reduce the proportion of controlled waste going to landfill from 70% to 60% by 2005
  • Increase use of recycled and secondary materials in construction from 30 mt to 55 mt a year by 2006
 

Source:  White Paper ‘Making Waste Work’, December 1995

   
12.27

PPG23 also refers to the role of the development plan system in achieving the aforementioned objectives.  Essentially, development plans, including the UDP, should:

 
  • set out planning criteria for the acceptability of sites for landfill and for improving the environmental acceptability of waste management facilities in general
  • take account of the availability of industrial areas suitable for incinerators and other waste facilities
  • have regard to the potential for rail or water access to waste sites
  • identify sites with spare capacity and, where appropriate, new sites, also broad areas suitable and unsuitable for waste treatment/disposal.
   
  UDP MINERALS AND WASTE DISPOSAL STRATEGY
   
12.28

Both mineral extraction and waste disposal require large areas of land and can give rise to adverse environmental effects, such as disturbance from site traffic.  It is therefore important that their relationship to other land-uses is considered in the UDP, balancing need, economic benefits and employment generation against environmental impact and seeking to minimise any potential nuisance.

   
  Minerals
12.29

As mineral planning authority, the City Council is asked to make an appropriate contribution to meeting demand, subject to local environmental considerations. Policies should be designed to allow consideration of mineral applications on their individual merit, having regard to other policies for the environment, agriculture, the economy and the need for the mineral.  These considerations should particularly take into account the urbanised nature of Sunderland and of Tyne and Wear in general.

12.30

Non-energy minerals -  The general approach of the Tyne and Wear Minerals Local Plan, together with the related elements of the Structure Plan, remains relevant and its key points are incorporated into the UDP.  Its assumptions will need to be kept under review to ensure that they remain valid in the context of the sub-regional apportionment (see Table 12.3).

12.31

Energy minerals -  The need to plan for new deep mine facilities would no longer appear to be an issue, but land west of the magnesian limestone escarpment (defined on the Proposals Map) could be of interest to opencast coal operators.  Following privatisation, the initiative for extraction will come from private operators licensed by the Coal Authority, the body now responsible for owning and managing coal resources.  On-shore oil and gas extraction is a possibility which it is prudent to plan for.  The UDP establishes criteria for evaluating proposals relating to the extraction of energy minerals, elaborating on Objectives MOi and MOii.

   
  Waste Disposal
12.32

Efforts to reduce the quantity of waste produced and to recycle materials will help to ease the pressure on existing disposal sites but they will not remove altogether the need for new ones.  There will also be a continuing need for special treatment of more difficult types of waste.

12.33

Present uncertainties surrounding national and regional strategies for waste management mean that the UDP cannot provide a clear land-use statement on all these matters.  Therefore, it is intended that the Plan pursues a strategy based on assessment of proposals by criteria.

12.34 The City cannot be wholly self-sufficient in all waste disposal (particularly as regards those forms of waste requiring special treatment, where the necessary facilities are unlikely to be provided on less than a regional basis).  The same will be true of other areas in the Region, hence the regional pattern of waste movements will include some imports as well as exports across the City boundary.  The Council will give emphasis to the disposal of waste generated within the City, and will seek to minimise both import and export of materials, in accordance with the 'proximity principle', under which waste should be disposed of (or otherwise managed) close to the point at which it is generated (see PPG23, para. 2.3).  However, the City may need to contribute to the provision of facilities to meet regional or national needs which justify an exception to these general rules.
12,35

The UDP's consideration of waste disposal matters is based on the following two principles:

 
  • policies for the disposal of bulk organic and inert materials should seek to minimise the amount of material and its travelling distance, use appropriate routes, and ensure site management agreements so as to avoid adverse environmental effects;
  • policies for disposal of various toxic and polluting wastes should be geared to providing appropriate criteria to ensure the maximum environmental protection.  In particular, they should seek to limit the import of waste generated from outside the City.
   
  POLICIES
   
  Non-Energy Minerals
 
M1

EXTRACTION OF NON-ENERGY MINERALS WILL BE PERMITTED AS ALLOWED BY EXISTING PLANNING PERMISSIONS AND OTHER RIGHTS AND NORMALLY WHERE MINERALS ARE WORKED AS A SECONDARY PRODUCT TO OPENCAST COAL.  OTHER PROPOSALS FOR EXTRACTION WILL BE TREATED ON THEIR MERITS IN ACCORDANCE WITH POLICIES M2, M3, M7, M8, M10 AND M12.

   
12.36

The City has a long history of quarrying for crushed rock, sand and gravel.  Many former and existing quarries have been located on the magnesian limestone escarpment, where much of the land is now subject to statutory and non-statutory environmental designations on account of its nature conservation importance.

12.37

There are three quarries currently being worked in Sunderland (see fig. 12.1).  Most have been a source of planning problems due to local impact through noise, vibration and poor access.  Extraction at Field House and Hetton Moor Farm quarries is expected to cease before 2001; the extraction of building stone at Springwell may continue, however, into the next century, though restoration will take place progressively in the intervening period.  A quarry was recently re-opened at Warden Law under an old planning permission related to the former Warden Law Quarry but it has now been closed and the site re-instated.  A further area nearby has planning permission for sand and gravel extraction.  There are no other recorded permissions capable of implementation but amendments to existing permissions will be favourably considered provided that they raise no new environmental or other issues of concern.

12.38

The Tyne and Wear Minerals Local Plan, which looked to 2001, did not identify any sites for new quarries in Sunderland and no new sites for aggregate extraction are identified in the UDP.  MPG1 seeks to reconcile mineral working with other claims on land: a balance has therefore to be struck between mineral extraction and the protection of the environment.  Further resources do exist in the City and some have been safeguarded against sterilisation by development (see M3), but the difficulty remains to balance the need for extraction against its likely environmental and other effects.  In his report on the Inquiry into the Minerals Plan, the DoE Inspector accepted that Tyne and Wear is a highly urbanised area whose boundaries have little relevance to the operations of the market for aggregates or any other minerals.  He also noted the adequacy of permitted reserves elsewhere in the Region.  For these reasons, no proposals for new quarries have been made.  New areas for extraction may need to be considered if supplies from elsewhere in the Region become insufficient to meet Government guidelines.

12.39

Much of the land in Sunderland with potentially workable mineral resources is situated adjacent to or prominent from residential and other development.  Mineral working close to some parts of the built-up area would have a totally unacceptable impact on local amenity due to noise, dust, inadequate access roads, etc.  Other areas provide valuable recreation facilities which should be safeguarded.  Conflict with established land uses in this way is regarded as a major constraint on future mineral working.

12.40

In addition, it is clear that much of the land within potential mineral resource areas is visually sensitive and may include areas either of higher quality agricultural land or of nature conservation interest.  The effect on nature conservation resources represents a strong constraint against working, particularly where SSSI's are involved (see CN20).  The grasslands of the magnesian limestone escarpment, for example, are of national importance for their botanical interest.  The effect of extraction on the visual environment is regarded as a relative constraint to future working, since the impact in many cases may be significantly reduced by advance landscaping works, phased restoration and aftercare treatment.

12.41 Only land that is not seriously affected by these environmental constraints and has not been otherwise sterilised by conflicting land uses might be considered as suitable for future quarrying. Where objections remain, the applicant will have to show that extraction is necessary to maintain an appropriate landbank and that the shortfall cannot be made up elsewhere within the area for which the appropriate landbank is defined (see M2 and paras. 12.44-12.46).
12.42

Non-energy minerals are sometimes found in association with coal suitable for opencasting.  Where the primary extraction of coal is acceptable, such minerals should also be taken out, provided that the period of extraction is not unreasonably lengthened, and satisfactory restoration of the site can still be achieved.  Extraction in these circumstances can make a worthwhile contribution to supply without increasing environmental damage (see M11).

12.43 M1 will be implemented through consideration of monitoring of sales and planning consents by the NRWPA and by the City Council as mineral planning authority.
 
M2

THE CITY COUNCIL, IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE OTHER FOUR DISTRICTS IN TYNE AND WEAR AND WITH OTHER AUTHORITIES IN THE NORTHERN REGION, WILL AIM TO MAINTAIN, FOR THE APPROPRIATE AREA, LANDBANKS OF RESERVES (WITH PLANNING PERMISSION), OF SAND AND GRAVEL EQUIVALENT TO AT LEAST SEVEN YEARS EXTRACTION AND OF CRUSHED ROCK EQUIVALENT TO AT LEAST TEN YEARS EXTRACTION.  THIS WILL BE DONE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE REGIONAL COMMENTARY AND ANNUAL REPORT OF THE NORTHERN REGION WORKING PARTY ON AGGREGATES.

   
12.44

MPG6 requests that a sufficient stock of permitted reserves be maintained for all aggregate minerals.  The aim should be to provide for the release of land to maintain a stock of permissions, for an appropriate area, sufficient for at least seven years' extraction in respect of sand and gravel; a longer period may be appropriate for crushed rock.  The provision to be made in each authority's Plan is to be justified not only in relation to this Government guidance, but also in relation to all other relevant considerations affecting the planning of the area (see MPG6 paras. 53, 68, 80, 86).  Some of these have been discussed under Policy M1 above.  The phrase ‘at least’ provides flexibility for the comprehensive working of an area of mineral resources to be permitted notwithstanding that it would increase the supply to more than the minimum requirement.  It is not intended as a justification for maintaining the supply above the minimum where there are over-riding objections to permitting an extraction proposal, nor does the general commitment to maintain a landbank remove the Council’s discretion to refuse planning permission should there be over-riding objections.  Government guidance states that landbank calculations and estimates of real supply can seldom be exact and decisions on individual applications should not be determined on an over precise calculation of whether supply matches the requirement.

12.45

For sand and gravel, Tyne and Wear remains the appropriate local area for maintaining a landbank.  A very strong case will be required before further land-based workings, primarily for these materials, are permitted within Sunderland.  This is in view of the land allocated for glacial sand and gravel extraction in the Ryton/Greenside area within Gateshead and permittedat Warden Law, also existing licences for marine extractions and existing landing and treatment facilities.  The agreed Tyne and Wear landbank amounts to 14 years supply.  It is therefore considered that no further permissions in Sunderland will be required during the Plan period.

   
  Table 12.3: Sub-regional Apportionment of Aggregates Output 1992-2006 (million tonnes)
 

 

Sand & gravel  Magnesian limestone Other crushed rock
Cleveland * 6.8 0
Cumbria 15.5 0 68.2
Durham 11.0 59.1*/** 19.9
Northumberland 15.5 0 41
Tyne & Wear 8 ** 0
* Figure for Cleveland combined with figure for Durham
** Figure for Tyne & Wear combined with figure for Durham (see para. 12.46)
 

Source:  NRWPA

   
12.46

With regard to crushed rock, South Tyneside and Sunderland are the only Tyne and Wear districts with suitable resources.  Both districts produce crushed rock from magnesian limestone quarries which have a limited remaining life and would be unable under existing planning permissions to support a landbank for Tyne and Wear throughout the Plan period.  For reasons of confidentiality and other local circumstances, the NRWPA has found it necessary to combine the apportionment for Tyne and Wear with that for Co. Durham.  Table 12.3 therefore provides a combined apportionment figure for magnesian limestone for Tyne and Wear and Durham.  The figure has been derived from the current ratio of MPA area sales to regional sales averaged over the three years 1991 to 1993 and applied to the period 1992 to 2006.  The county figures for Durham (51.3 million tonnes) and Tyne and Wear (7.8 million tonnes) have therefore been combined to form a single figure of 59.1 million tonnes.  This revised approach is consistent with MPG6.  Reserves of rock with planning permission within the combined Durham/Tyne and Wear landbank area amount to some 30 years' supply on current trends.  There is therefore no immediate need to consider new sites for primary crushed rock quarrying.  The adequacy of supplies from sources in Co. Durham and elsewhere in the Northern Region will need to be kept under review by reference to the demand forecasts of the NRWPA, which take into account secondary and recycled materials and imports from other regions.  Sunderland may still contribute to the landbank through crushed rock as a secondary product to some other development, or where there are no insuperable environmental constraints to approval of any submitted planning application (see policies M1, M7, M8).

 
M3

LAND WITH SPECIFIC MINERAL RESOURCES AT EPPLETON, GREAT EPPLETON, PITTINGTON HILL, SPRINGWELL AND WARDEN LAW (AS DEFINED IN PART II) WILL BE SAFEGUARDED AGAINST UNNECESSARY STERILISATION BY DEVELOPMENT.  MINERAL WORKING IN THESE AREAS DURING THE PLAN PERIOD WILL NOT NORMALLY BE PERMITTED UNLESS ESSENTIAL TO MEET REGIONAL REQUIREMENTS (UNDER POLICY M2).  ANY PROPOSAL FOR EXTRACTION WILL BE SUBJECT TO RIGOROUS SCRUTINY IN RESPECT OF THE CRITERIA OF POLICY M8.

   
12.47

No new sites for aggregate extraction are proposed for working during the Plan period.  Proposals are made, however, to safeguard known mineral resources against unnecessary sterilisation by development; the specific areas are shown on the Proposals Map.

12.48

As outlined previously (in paras 12.20 and 12.40), there are environmental problems associated with any further mineral extraction within all of the potential resource areas.  Springwell Quarry is close to urban Gateshead, Field House Quarry is in a prominent and visually sensitive location, whilst Hetton Moor Farm Quarry adjoins higher grade agricultural land.  Similar factors apply in respect of most of the specific resource areas protected from sterilisation and future extraction.

12.49 At present, adequate alternative sources of supply exist within the Northern Region for all of the minerals found in the potential resource areas.  There is therefore no over-riding need to permit extraction, but in the medium/long term, as existing sources are exhausted, it may become necessary to reconsider the arguments.  Development which would sterilise potentially workable resources will therefore not be allowed unless it is essential.  Extraction will normally only be permitted within these areas during the Plan period if essential to meet overall regional or proven special requirements.  Any proposals will be subject to rigorous scrutiny in respect of the environmental and other criteria outlined in Policy M8.  The full extent of the resource to be worked should be assessed in a like manner to the appraisal of potential for concurrent working under Policy M11; planning permission will specify the depth to which the mineral or minerals may be worked.  The only other specific circumstances in which extraction may be permitted is under the terms of the latter part of Policy M7.  In the case of Pittington Hill, where resources of high grade dolomite used in iron and steel production are potentially of national importance, the question of future mineral extraction should be assessed in the light of the prevailing supply and demand position, taking account of their specialised nature and the environmental impact of any such exploitation.  Any proposal for future working at Warden Law should be considered in the context of proposals for the use of reclaimed land at Warden Law Quarry (HA9(1)).
 
M4

THE CITY COUNCIL WILL ENCOURAGE THE USE OF SECONDARY/ RECYCLED AGGREGATES IN PREFERENCE TO PRIMARY AGGREGATES WHEREVER ECONOMICALLY AND TECHNICALLY FEASIBLE.

   
12.50

Paragraph 11 of the revised MPG6 seeks to apply 'sustainable development' principles to mineral extraction.  It seeks to minimise new extraction by emphasising increased use of secondary and recycled aggregates.  The use of these materials in place of primary aggregates can reduce the need for new or expanded quarries.  MPG6 seeks an increase in their contribution from an estimated 10% of consumption in 1989 to 12% over the period 1992-2006.

12.51

At present, the largest use of waste materials is for bulk fill.  Local highway authorities are encouraged to make greater use of waste and recycled materials in their road construction projects.  Other large-scale development projects might also have uses for secondary aggregates; the possibilities will be explored with the developer at the planning application stage.  However, cost differentials and minimum technical specifications will limit the extent to which secondary aggregates can be used.  To prepare materials for re-use, there may be a need for long-term or semi-permanent recycling plants.  These will be considered in accordance with Policy M18.  The use of secondary/recycled aggregates will be monitored during the Plan period.

   
  ENERGY MINERALS
   
  Opencast Coal Mining
 
M5

WHERE NEED IS ADVANCED BY AN APPLICANT AS AN OVER-RIDING ARGUMENT FOR OPENCAST COAL EXTRACTION, THE MARKETABILITY OF THE PARTICULAR COAL ON A LOCAL, REGIONAL OR NATIONAL BASIS MUST BE ESTABLISHED.

   
12.52

The shallow coalfield area west of the magnesian limestone escarpment, within which this policy is applicable, is identified on the Proposals Map.  (The line drawn includes areas overlain by basal Permian sand, which are not technically within the 'exposed' coalfield but are theoretically workable by opencast means.)

12.53

In the absence of national or regional guidelines, the overall level of opencast production is determined by the market.  The Council will consider proposed opencast operations by reference to all appropriate factors, and will seek to achieve an equitable balance between the economic benefits of extraction and its environmental impact (see M7 and M8).  This is in recognition of national guidance which states that restrictions on coal extraction should be no more than are necessary to protect the environment (MPG3 para. 11).  Where environmental objections remain unresolved, it will be for the opencast developer to make a case for the particular site on the grounds of need for the specific coal and to prove the existence of this need by identifying a market for the output.  Where need is advanced as an over-riding argument, regard may also be had to the possibility of meeting that need from alternative sites or sources of supply elsewhere in the Region.

   
  Oil and Gas
 
M6

EXPLORATION FOR OIL OR NATURAL GAS WILL BE PERMITTED WHERE THIS WOULD NOT UNDULY OR PERMANENTLY HARM THE ENVIRONMENT OR AREAS OF NATURE CONSERVATION INTEREST, OR UNDULY AFFECT THE AMENITIES OF LOCAL RESIDENTS.  PLANT AND OTHER SITE WORKS NECESSARY TO APPRAISE THE EXTENT OF A PROVEN DEPOSIT OF OIL OR GAS AND FOR COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION WILL BE CONSIDERED IN RELATION TO RELEVANT CRITERIA OF POLICY M8 AND ON THE BASIS OF A PRODUCTION STRATEGY TO BE AGREED WITH THE CITY COUNCIL.

   
12.54

Sunderland falls within the boundary of the sedimentary basin stretching from the Wash to the Tyne in which deposits of oil and natural gas may be expected.  Given that the availability of gas reserves in the North Sea is greater than previously thought, pressure for exploration in the Sunderland area could be a possibility, especially with modern technical advances.

12.55

On-shore oil and gas development is generally subject to planning permission and to a licensing system operated by the Department of Trade and Industry.  Three phases of development can be distinguished - exploration, appraisal and production/distribution.  Circular 2/85 (Oil and Gas Operations) sets out the considerations that should apply to each phase.  This advice will be applied to this particular policy.

12.56

The main impact on the environment occurs at the production/distribution stage, with a large and potentially obtrusive site required, with a limited range of suitable locations.  The production life of an on-shore field can be 20-25 years.  The timetable for these operations should therefore be made the subject of a 'production strategy' setting out a plan of working for agreement with the City Council.  Installations required at the production stage may be significant enough to require an environmental assessment.

12.57

Strata likely to bear oil or gas often occur in areas given protection for environmental reasons.  In these areas the responsibility lies with the industry to demonstrate that the need for the development outweighs any environmental objections (Circular 2/85).  If commercially viable deposits of oil or gas are found in Sunderland it is unlikely that the production and distribution stage could be reached within the timescale covered by the UDP.

12.58

The term 'unduly' in Policy M6 will be interpreted in the light of consideration of the range of effects listed in Policy M8.

   
  CONTROL
   
  Sterilisation of Mineral Resources
 
M7

THE COUNCIL WILL, WHERE PRACTICABLE, ENSURE THAT MINERAL RESOURCES (NON-ENERGY AND ENERGY) ARE NOT UNNECESSARILY STERILISED BY BUILT DEVELOPMENT OR WILL PERMIT MINERAL EXTRACTION WHICH ACCORDS WITH POLICY M8 BEFORE SURFACE DEVELOPMENT BEGINS.

   
12.59

Housing and other built development can effectively sterilise mineral resources, preventing their recovery from beneath and from adjacent land.  As well as the specific areas safeguarded from development under Policy M3, there may be other areas where surface development threatens to sterilise mineral deposits; working of the latter deposits will normally be permitted if no unacceptable environmental or other effects would ensue.  In the area west of the magnesian limestone escarpment (see Proposals Map), particularly where opencast coal operators have expressed interest in a site, the Council will need to balance the benefits arising from a proposed development against the possible sterilisation of known coal or other mineral resources.  The Coal Authority will be consulted on any proposals for substantial development on undeveloped land west of the escarpment.

   
  General Locational Criteria
 
M8

PROPOSALS FOR MINERAL EXTRACTION ACCEPTABLE UNDER THE TERMS OF POLICIES M1, M2, M5 AND M6 MUST ALSO, WHERE RELEVANT, ENSURE THAT:

(A)

IN REGARD TO EFFECTS ON LOCAL COMMUNITIES:

(i)

THEIR AMENITY, ENVIRONMENT AND SAFETY ARE PROTECTED, ESPECIALLY FROM THE EFFECTS OF NOISE, DUST, VIBRATION, AND VISUAL INTRUSION ASSOCIATED WITH THE WORKINGS AND RELATED TRANSPORT MOVEMENTS;

(ii)

IN ANY GENERAL NEIGHBOURHOOD NO MORE THAN ONE SCHEME SHOULD BE IN PROGRESS AT ANY ONE TIME, NOR SHOULD THE NEIGHBOURHOOD SUFFER A CONTINUOUS OR NEARLY CONTINUOUS SERIES OF SUCH SCHEMES, UNLESS IT CAN BE DEMONSTRATED THAT MORE SITES WOULD NOT HAVE UNACCEPTABLE ENVIRONMENTAL OR OTHER EFFECTS;

(iii) THERE IS NO SERIOUS ADVERSE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECT ON EXISTING BUSINESSES;
(B)

IN REGARD TO LANDSCAPE AND THE ENVIRONMENT:

(iv)

THERE  IS  NO SERIOUS ADVERSE IMPACT ON AREAS OF RECREATIONAL VALUE, AND THAT ACCESS FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES TO THE WIDER COUNTRYSIDE IS MAINTAINED (SEE ALSO POLICY L10);

(v)

EXISTING RIGHTS OF WAY ARE PROTECTED OR THAT DIVERSIONS DO NOT UNREASONABLY EXTEND THE LENGTH OF THE ROUTE;

(vi)

THE IMPACT ON THE LANDSCAPE DIRECTLY AFFECTED AND SURROUNDING THE SITE IS SATISFACTORY, BOTH DURING AND AFTER WORKING (IN ACCORD WITH POLICY CN16) (AN ASSESSMENT OF THE AGE OF THE LANDSCAPE AND THE MATURITY OF VEGETATION AND ECOLOGICAL SYSTEMS WITHIN IT WILL BE REQUIRED);

(vii)

THERE IS NO ADVERSE EFFECT ON THE CREATION OF THE GREAT NORTH FOREST (SEE ALSO POLICY CN15);

(viii)

THE VISUAL IMPACT OF THE WORKINGS FROM THE SURROUNDING AREAS, FROM IMPORTANT TRANSPORT CORRIDORS AND MAJOR APPROACHES AND ENTRANCES TO THE CITY IS ACCEPTABLE (IN ACCORD WITH POLICY CN14);

(ix)

WATER RESOURCES AND LAND DRAINAGE ARE PROTECTED TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY (IN ACCORD WITH POLICY EN12);

(x)

OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE RECLAMATION OF DERELICT LAND ARE CONSIDERED AND INCORPORATED INTO ANY SCHEME (IN ACCORD WITH POLICY EN15);

(xi) THE PROPOSED SCHEME OF WORKING FOLLOWS BEST PRACTICE AND INCLUDES SATISFACTORY PROVISION FOR PHASING (WHERE APPROPRIATE), RESTORATION AND AFTERCARE (IN ACCORD WITH POLICY EN16);
(C)

IN REGARD TO CONSERVATION:

(xii)

FEATURES OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL OR HISTORIC IMPORTANCE ARE SUITABLY PROTECTED (INCLUDING ANCIENT MONUMENTS, LISTED BUILDINGS AND THEIR SETTINGS, AND CONSERVATION AREAS, IN ACCORD WITH POLICIES B6 AND B8 TO B18);

(xiii)

THERE IS NO IRREVERSIBLE LOSS OF THE BEST AND MOST VERSATILE AGRICULTURAL LAND (GRADES 2 AND 3A) AND THAT WHERE AGRICULTURAL LAND IS TAKEN FOR EXTRACTION THERE IS A REASONABLE PROSPECT OF RESTORATION TO EQUIVALENT OR HIGHER QUALITY (IN ACCORD WITH POLICY CN8);

(xiv)

THERE IS NO ADVERSE EFFECT ON THE EFFICIENCY OF SURROUNDING AGRICULTURAL UNITS;

(xv) THE EFFECTS ON THE NATURE CONSERVATION VALUE OF THE SITE ARE IN ACCORD WITH POLICIES CN18 TO CN23;
(D)

IN REGARD TO TRANSPORT:

(xvi) THE POTENTIAL FOR THE MOVEMENT OF MINERALS BY RAIL AND BY SEA HAS BEEN CONSIDERED AND, WHERE FEASIBLE, THAT APPROPRIATE PROVISION IS MADE (IN ACCORD WITH POLICY T24).
   
12.60

Where mineral extraction is acceptable in principle, it must also meet the environmental and other criteria of Policy M8.  Some of these criteria are explained in greater detail below.

12.61

M8(i) seeks to protect local communities from the adverse effects of extraction - air pollution, noise, vibration, etc.  Whilst mineral extraction will always cause some adverse environmental impact, this does not mean that in the last resort this must be condoned simply to maintain a theoretical level of contribution.  The greater the adverse effect which extraction would have on local communities, the stronger will be the case against permitting the scheme.  In particular, it is unlikely that extractive processes could be carried on within 300 metres of housing areas without severely affecting residential amenity (500m where blasting is involved).  Within such distances, the onus should be on the operator to demonstrate that disturbance will not arise.  Exceptions to these restrictions may be appropriate where mineral extraction assists in the speedy reclamation of derelict land.

12.62

'General neighbourhood' (M8(ii)) cannot be defined in advance on a map, but the following factors will be taken into account in applying this element of the policy:

 
  • whether any given settlement would suffer adverse effects from a proposed mineral extraction scheme (dust, noise, vibration, visual intrusion, including the effects of transport movements), which recently has suffered or currently is suffering the effects of another scheme, whether for the extraction of the same or any other mineral; and
  • whether from any normally frequented point of view more than one scheme would be visible at any one time.
12.63

The 'general neighbourhood' concept is qualified by wording which would permit extraction if there are no unacceptable environmental or other effects on local communities (such as effects on safety).  For example, a scheme may be visible without being unduly prominent.  A proposed scheme taken in isolation will have to comply with Policy M8(i); the Council will interpret 'unacceptable environmental or other effects' as referring to a failure to comply with this criterion once the cumulative impact of the proposal along with other existing or approved sites is taken into account.

12.64

The purpose of the 'general neighbourhood' concept is also to consider the need to combat any detrimental effects of a continuous or nearly continuous series of schemes.  'Nearly continuous' is to be understood as including a 'breathing space' between schemes, which if it is to have any meaningful effect, should normally be of at least five years duration.  The five year breathing space between schemes in the same general neighbourhood will be measured from the time of spreading of all topsoil, subsoil and soil-making material of the first scheme, to the start of soil stripping on the second.

12.65

The five year period is a guideline, not a rigid criterion.  It may sometimes be advantageous to work schemes continuously or nearly continuously, for instance to reduce the overall impact on surrounding communities, to avoid the sterilisation of deposits, or to expedite the reclamation of derelict land.

12.66

With regard to M8 (B) and (C), Strategic Guidance asks the Tyne and Wear districts to give special attention to areas of strategic environmental importance.  The City Council is committed to upgrading the environment and to protecting and enhancing the open countryside.  The Council will therefore seek to protect the attractive and diverse features of the landscape and any areas of archaeological or nature conservation value that may be affected by mineral extraction.  It will also seek to protect the best and most versatile agricultural land (Grade 2 and 3a) and will take into account the effects of extraction on surrounding agricultural units, e.g. due to severance.

12.67

Parts of the countryside are of significance for recreation, either because they have been set aside for specific activities or because there is public access for passive recreation, e.g. by means of footpaths.  Mineral workings should avoid any serious adverse effects on such access.  Recreation may be an appropriate after-use for restored sites.

12.68

Strategic Guidance states that important impressions of the County are given by the immediate hinterland seen from the main communications corridors.  M8(viii) therefore seeks to ensure that the visual impact of workings does not detract from the image of the City perceived by visitors.

12.69

Much of the sub-region is underlain by aquifers which include sources of public drinking water.  Proposals for mineral extraction will need to assess any implications which mining or quarrying could have for underground watercourses, springlines and the water-table.  The effect on surface water features and land drainage patterns will also need to be considered, particularly where tipping could precipitate flooding (MPG2 para. 35).  The Council will seek the advice of the Environment Agency on these matters.

12.70

The benefits which can result from opencast coal extraction include the removal of substantial areas of derelict land and consequent improvement in the quality of the landscape.  For example, opencasting at Rye Hill and Herrington will have assisted in the reclamation of derelict land for countryside recreation use.  Such benefits will be given serious consideration.  The City Council will seek to minimise disruption to the community and environment, whilst maximising the after-benefits.

12.71

Where a proposed mineral extraction site would have a significant effect on the environment, by reason of such factors as its nature, size or location, the developer will be required to provide an environmental statement to enable its impact to be assessed.  This will include details of measures proposed to mitigate any adverse effects.  Government advice (DoE Circular 15/88) is that opencast sites and sand and gravel workings of more than 50 ha. may well require environmental assessment (EA) and significantly smaller sites could require EA if located in a sensitive area or if subjected to particularly obtrusive operations.  Whether other mineral workings require EA will depend on the location, scale and type of the activities proposed.  Given the range of sensitive environmental factors present in the City, an environmental assessment is likely to be required for all applications.

   
  Operational Controls
 
M9

PROPOSALS ACCEPTABLE IN PRINCIPLE UNDER THE TERMS OFPOLICIES M1, M2, M5, M6 AND M8 SHOULD:

(i)

PROVIDE SUITABLE SCREENING OF OPERATIONAL WORKS;

(ii)

INCLUDE CONTROLS ON MATTERS SUCH AS THE DAYS AND HOURS OF WORKING, NOISE, DUST AND VIBRATION LEVELS, INCLUDING OFF-SITE DIRT FROM SITE TRAFFIC, SO AS TO MINIMISE DISTURBANCE TO THE GENERAL NEIGHBOURHOOD;

(iii)

INCLUDE CONTROLS ON ROUTES FOR SITE TRAFFIC, ESPECIALLY HEAVY VEHICLES AND, WHERE APPROPRIATE, INCLUDE  PROVISION FOR HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENTS OR STRENGTHENING;

(iv)

ENSURE THAT ANCILLARY BUILDINGS AND PLANT ARE SITED AND SCREENED SO AS TO MINIMISE THEIR IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT;

(v)

PROVIDE FOR THE DISPOSAL OF MINERAL WASTE IN WAYS WHICH ARE ENVIRONMENTALLY ACCEPTABLE AND WHICH MAKE THE FULLEST ECONOMIC USE OF THE MATERIAL;

(vi) ENSURE THE RESTORATION OF LAND AFFECTED BY EXTRACTION AND ITS ASSOCIATED ACTIVITIES TO ENABLE A BENEFICIAL USE IN ACCORDANCE, WHEREVER PRACTICABLE, WITH A PHASED PROGRAMME OF EXTRACTION, RESTORATION AND AFTERCARE.  THIS WILL INCLUDE PROVISION FOR A FIVE-YEAR AFTERCARE SCHEME WHERE RESTORATION TO AGRICULTURE OR FORESTRY IS PROPOSED.
   
12.72

Where sites are considered acceptable in principle for mineral extraction, agreement will need to be reached on safeguards concerning screening, methods of working and access arrangements, and to achieve satisfactory proposals for restoration.  This Policy follows the advice given in MPG1.

12.73

Where a mineral extraction site is located close to a railway line, a prospective developer may be required to consider whether the construction of a new spur would be a practical proposition as a means of reducing the volume of site traffic using local roads (see T24).  This would especially apply to schemes of medium to long term duration (over five years) and those where lorry movements would have a significant effect on the local highway network.  The construction of new haul roads may also be appropriate.  Lorry routes should avoid housing or adverse impact on local communities; whenever possible, traffic should use the strategic route network for all off-site journeys or have designated routes to it.

12.74

M9(v) should be read in conjunction with M4; mineral waste can be an economically and technically viable source of secondary aggregates, the potential of which needs to be investigated at the pre-planning application stage.

12.75

Beneficial after-uses for mineral extraction sites could include agriculture, forestry, and nature conservation.  Within the Great North Forest, restoration to woodland will be particularly encouraged.

12.76

This Policy provides a framework for ensuring that good working practices are adhered to so as to minimise adverse environmental effects.  Opencasting has the potential to create new landscapes and this opportunity will be used to the full.  Restoration design and after-use will be a major consideration at the planning application stage and will need to be taken into account in the preparation of an environmental statement, if required to accompany the planning application.  MPG7 provides guidance on restoration and the need for after-care where the proposed after-use is to be agriculture, forestry or amenity uses; such guidance will be actively pursued.

12.77

The City Council will generally seek to ensure that extensive areas of featureless uniformity are avoided and that restoration schemes incorporate a diversity of topographical features to add to the landscape quality.  Schemes will include tree planting, the creation of a variety of wildlife habitats including the provision of open water areas and wetlands where appropriate.  The Council will also seek improved public access to the countryside and will encourage land to be restored to managed woodland and outdoor recreational uses, particularly on the urban fringe.  (The Forestry Authority provides a Community Woodland Supplement to encourage joint public access/tree-planting schemes.)  Schemes which accord with ideas for creation of the Great North Forest will be especially encouraged, though those which adversely affect existing woodland will normally be resisted.  Within the area of the Great North Forest, schemes should be in accord with the provisions of the Great North Forest Plan.  After-uses other than agriculture, woodland and countryside recreation will be considered on their merits.

12.78

Most permissions will be subject to extensive conditions and/or planning obligations to achieve the proper management and aftercare of the site.

   
  Piecemeal Working
 
M10

THE PIECEMEAL WORKING OF SITES WHICH ARE PART OF A LARGER RESERVE WILL NOT NORMALLY BE PERMITTED.

   
12.79

The piecemeal working of sites can lead to sterilisation of coal and other minerals, a continuous or nearly continuous series of schemes and an unsatisfactory overall restoration of the area.  Applications for permission to extract coal or other minerals will have to show that the site is either not part of a larger reserve or that the operation will be properly co-ordinated with any other adjoining operations.

12.80

It will be a matter for judgement in any particular case as to whether the environmental disturbance to a locality is minimised by a major site which may last a number of years and have the associated problems of scale and heavy traffic movements, or by a succession of planned smaller sites and extensions (see MPG3 para. 25).  Policy M10 takes the approach that piecemeal working will not normally be permitted; exceptions will be considered only where the adverse environmental effects are best minimised by this means.

   
  Concurrent Working
 
M11

OPERATORS SHALL MAKE PROVISION FOR THE APPRAISAL AND PROPER UTILISATION OF OTHER MINERALS OCCURRING ON PROSPECTIVE EXTRACTION SITES WHERE THESE CAN BE WON IN COMMERCIALLY VIABLE QUANTITIES, PROVIDED THAT IT CAUSES NO SIGNIFICANT ADDITIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL DISTURBANCE AND DOES NOT IMPEDE THE PROPER RESTORATION OF THE SITE.

   
12.81

There may be benefits, for both the mineral operators and the environment, if two minerals found together in the same site, e.g. opencast coal and fireclay, or limestone and Permian sand, are worked concurrently.  In this respect, Policy M1 allows for the extraction of non-energy minerals where these are worked as a secondary product to opencast coal.  This policy would allow for other combined operations; however, there should be an adequate appraisal undertaken prior to working to determine the type, amount, depth, marketability and ease of recovery of other minerals.  Concurrent working will be permitted provided that this does not impede the proper working of the site, unreasonably extend the period of its operation/restoration, or lead to other unacceptable environmental disturbance.  It is possible that if the minerals are not worked together one may be permanently sterilised.

   
 

WASTE DISPOSAL

   
  General
 
M12

PROPOSALS TO DISPOSE OF WASTE ON EXTENDED OR NEW SITES, OR FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF DISPOSAL OR TRANSFER FACILITIES (OTHER THAN SCRAPYARDS - SEE POLICY EC15), WILL BE ACCEPTABLE IF IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT:

(i)

THE PRIMARY REQUIREMENT IS TO DEAL WITH WASTE GENERATED FROM WITHIN THE CITY;

(ii)

THE METHOD OF DISPOSAL IS PROVEN, EFFECTIVE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY ACCEPTABLE FOR THE TYPE OF WASTE; AND

(iii) CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO WASTE REDUCTION BY MEANS OF APPROPRIATE, PRACTICAL AND ECONOMIC RECYCLING MEASURES.
 
M13

WASTE DISPOSAL APPLICATIONS NOT COMPLYING WITH POLICY M12(i) WILL BE CONSIDERED ON MERIT, PROVIDING THAT:

(i)

THE PROPOSAL IS NEEDED TO SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS OF A PLAN FOR SUNDERLAND PRODUCED BY THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY; OR

(ii)

THE PROPOSAL WILL BRING ABOUT EARLY AND NECESSARY RECLAMATION OF DERELICT OR DEGRADED LAND (INCLUDING THOSE RESTORATION PROPOSALS FOR QUARRIES IN PART II), WHICH COULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO BE RECLAIMED BY OTHER MEANS; OR

(iii) THERE IS A PROVEN REGIONAL OR NATIONAL NEED.
   
12.82

As previously described, the City Council no longer has an operational role in waste disposal (see paras. 12.9 and 12.10).  It follows that it is not practicable for the Council to specify waste disposal sites in the UDP in the absence of an identified commercial interest in operating them, though waste disposal has been identified elsewhere in Part II as an appropriate use for certain quarries in the Washington and Houghton-Hetton areas as part of reclamation projects (see WA23, HA23).  Policies M12 and M13 provide a set of criteria by which proposals for sites can be assessed, and cover all types of waste and methods of disposal.

12.83

The Government subscribes to the 'proximity principle' (see PPG23 para. 2.3), under which waste should be disposed of (or otherwise managed) close to the point at which it is generated.  This strategy implies that Sunderland should consider options for disposal of its waste within its own boundaries (which also has the environmental benefit of minimising heavy vehicle movements).  The ability to do this is constrained by the availability and economic viability of landfill sites (see paras. 12.17 and 12.18).  Whilst current waste disposal contracts involve direct disposal and transfer of wastes to neighbouring authority areas, the timescales (five years in most cases) are such that the Council has a degree of flexibility in terms of its medium to long term waste disposal strategy and will be able to take account of market and legislative conditions as they evolve in the future.

12.84

The quarry voids, being a limited resource, will normally be reserved primarily for waste arising from within the City; also, it will be expected that efforts are made through other measures, e.g. waste minimisation and recycling, to reduce the volume to be landfilled.  At present, this principle will be reconsidered only where there is a proven over-riding need in the national or regional interest to introduce waste from outside the City.  Additionally, it may be reconsidered if the early and necessary reclamation of voids cannot be brought about except by importing waste from elsewhere, also if an Area or Regional plan is produced under environmental protection legislation which sets the City's voids in a wider context.

12.85 Proposals need to be considered against the requirements of the EC Waste Framework Directive (see para. 12.24).  The Government's view is that, since an 'integrated and adequate network of waste disposal installations' is not defined in the Directive, authorities will need to consider in each case whether there are already adequate facilities within a reasonable distance.  What is a 'reasonable distance' will depend on the type of waste concerned, the quantity arising in the area, and the particular geographical circumstances.  The Directive also requires authorities to seek to enable waste to be disposed of at one of the nearest appropriate installations.  PPG23 states that these objectives are in line with the 'proximity principle', which also underlies the UDP policies.
 
M14

PROPOSALS FOR WASTE DISPOSAL, ACCEPTABLE UNDER THE TERMS OF POLICIES M12 OR M13, MUST BE LOCATED AND PLANNED TO ENSURE THAT:

(i)

THE AMENITY OF RESIDENTIAL, RECREATIONAL, COMMERCIAL AND B1 INDUSTRIAL AREAS AND OTHER SENSITIVE USES IS PROTECTED;

(ii)

THERE IS ACCEPTABLE MEANS OF ACCESS TO THE STRATEGIC ROAD NETWORK FOR THE NUMBER AND SIZE OF VEHICLES INVOLVED IN THE OPERATION, AND TO THE RAIL NETWORK, WHERE READILY AVAILABLE;

(iii)

PUBLIC ACCESS TO SURROUNDING AREAS IS MAINTAINED;

(iv)

DISCHARGES TO THE AIR OR INTO GROUND WATER OR SURFACE WATER FEATURES ARE MINIMISED (NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THEY MEET POLLUTION CONTROL STANDARDS AND REGULATIONS);

(v)

THERE IS NO SERIOUS ADVERSE EFFECT ON LAND DRAINAGE;

(vi)

THE EFFECT OF THE PROPOSAL ON ARCHAEOLOGICAL REMAINS, LISTED BUILDINGS, CONSERVATION AREAS OR SITES OF NATURE CONSERVATION VALUE MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS OF POLICIES B4 TO B18, AND CN18 TO CN23;

(vii)

DURING ITS OPERATION, THE VISUAL IMPACT OF THE SITE ON THE SURROUNDING LANDSCAPE IS MINIMISED, AND THAT ON COMPLETION THE SITE IS COMPLEMENTARY TO THE LATTER;

(viii)

THERE IS NO ADVERSE EFFECT ON THE CREATION OF THE GREAT NORTH FOREST (SEE ALSO POLICY CN15);

(ix)

THE EFFICIENCY  OF SURROUNDING AGRICULTURAL UNITS IS NOT IMPAIRED;

(x)

THERE IS NO IRREVERSIBLE LOSS OF THE BEST AND MOST VERSATILE AGRICULTURAL LAND (GRADES 2 AND 3A) (IN ACCORD WITH POLICY CN8); AND THAT

(xi) AREAS OF MINERAL RESOURCES AS DEFINED ELSEWHERE IN PART II ARE SAFEGUARDED.
   
12.86

The criteria in Policy M14 seek to ensure that waste disposal sites can be operated without serious detriment to amenity or public safety and without having a significant adverse effect on environmental, conservation and farming interests.  Amenity can be affected by dust, noise, odours, vermin and windblown litter.  It is important to control such problems as far as is practical and, where problems cannot be satisfactorily regulated, it may be appropriate to refuse permission for the siting of waste disposal facilities.  This is particularly so where they would adversely affect sensitive uses such as housing, schools or hospitals.

12.87

Where a major waste disposal site is located close to a railway line, a prospective developer may be required to consider whether the construction of a new spur would be a practical and economical proposition as a means of reducing the volume of site traffic using local roads (see T24).  The construction of new haul roads may also be appropriate.  Lorry routes should avoid adversely affecting local communities; whenever possible, traffic should use the strategic route network, or have purpose-made links to it, for all off-site journeys.

12.88

Proposals need to be considered against the requirements of the Waste Framework Directive (see para. 12.24).  Policy M14 takes account of the Directive's aim of ensuring that waste is recovered or disposed of without using processes or methods which could harm the environment and in particular without causing nuisance through noise, or adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest.

12.89 The Council will consult with the Environment Agency and other relevant bodies and take their advice into account in determining any application for planning permission.
 
M15

PROPOSALS FOR WASTE DISPOSAL SITES OR FACILITIES MUST INCLUDE ACCEPTABLE PLANS FOR SITE MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL AND, WHERE APPROPRIATE, PHASED RESTORATION AND AFTERCARE FOR A SUITABLE AFTER-USE.

   
12.90

Several quarry voids still require planning permission for waste disposal or other landfill reclamation.  Before detailed proposals are finalised for their use, factors such as the need for impermeable linings (to prevent leaching of pollution from the quarry), control of landfill gas (see M16), new access/ service roads, transport costs and the operational requirements of any continuing quarrying will need to be carefully considered.  Policy M15 provides a framework for controlling such matters, as well as hours of operation and means of limiting odours and windblown litter.  The effects upon nature conservation will also need to be taken into account, in accordance with Policy M14, including consideration of protective measures for any important habitats or geological features affected.  The creation of new wildlife habitats will also be encouraged.  Whenever appropriate, restoration bonds or other financial safeguards will be sought (see EN16).  Suitable capping of waste tipping areas or other appropriate measures to support future woodland establishment will be expected where forestry is proposed as an after-use.  Within the area of the Great North Forest, schemes should be in accord with the provisions of the Great North Forest Plan.

12.91 Policy M15 likewise takes account of the Waste Framework Directive.  The Council will consult appropriate agencies for detailed advice as described under Policy M14.
 
M16

SHOULD ANY LANDFILL SITE BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE THE CAPACITY TO PRODUCE LANDFILL GAS IN THE FUTURE REQUIRING THE INTRODUCTION OF A FLARE STACK VENTING MECHANISM, THE LOCATION OF THE FACILITY SHALL BE IDENTIFIED ON THE AGREED RESTORATION PROPOSALS PLAN.

   
12.92

Sites which produce landfill gas are normally vented, either passively or positively; positive venting may require the installation of a flare stack.  The provision of such a facility should be considered at the planning application stage; it should be accommodated in land restoration proposals so as to cause minimal environmental disturbance.  Energy recovery (see M17) is to be preferred to flaring-off of landfill gas and the Council will wish to see evidence that this has been considered.

   
  Energy Recovery
 
M17

IN THE PLANNING OF WASTE DISPOSAL OR TRANSFER FACILITIES, CONSIDERATION SHALL BE GIVEN TO THE FEASIBILITY OF ENERGY RECOVERY FROM WASTE.

   
12.93

Opportunities exist to use waste as an energy resource, for example by recovering the heat produced by incineration and by utilising landfill gas for electricity generation.  Where the proposed development is acceptable, in accordance with Policies M12-15, the Council will encourage such practices (see also EN2, EN3).  Applications should include energy recovery proposals or else a reasoned explanation should be submitted as to why recovery is not feasible.

   
  Waste Recycling
 
M18

THE CITY COUNCIL WILL PERMIT THE PROVISION OF FACILITIES FOR THE RECLAMATION AND RECYCLING OF WASTE MATERIALS SUBJECT TO THE PROTECTION OF LOCAL AMENITY AND OTHER PROPOSALS OF THIS PLAN.  PROCESSING FACILITIES WILL BE CONSIDERED IN RELATION TO RELEVANT CRITERIA OF POLICY M14.

   
12.94

Present facilities for recycling were described previously (see para 12.16).  Further collection sites will extend accessibility, the City Council's aim being to increase provision initially to one site per 10,000 households and eventually to one site per 5,000 (Draft Recycling Plan (1992)).  New facilities could extend the range of materials to include cardboard and plastics.  Much will depend on the development of markets for the waste if schemes are to be commercially viable (the Council's interim objective is to achieve recycling of 12% of household waste as a step towards the long term goal of 25%).  Any processing facilities must however be located and designed to avoid adverse effects such as noise, odours or windblown litter.  Where facilities are large-scale they might include a plant for heat and power generation from combustible waste.

   
  'Civic Amenity' Sites
 
M19

SITES FOR THE DISPOSAL OF CERTAIN TYPES OF WASTE BY PRIVATE HOUSEHOLDS WILL BE DISTRIBUTED SO AS TO OPTIMISE ACCESS FROM ALL PARTS OF THE CITY, SUITABLY LOCATED TO AVOID ADVERSE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS.

   
12.95

Local authorities are required under the 1978 Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act to provide facilities where bulky household refuse, other than refuse arising in the course of business, may be deposited.  Such facilities are usually referred to as 'Civic Amenity' or 'Waste Reception' sites.  The sites need to be well-distributed across the City so as to be easily accessible.  Existing provision at Springwell and Beach Street serves the north of the City (though a new location will be needed when Beach Street is redeveloped).  Durham County Council sites currently serve the south-west areas.  A new site is required to adequately serve the south-central parts.

12.96

As a result of the 1990 Environmental Protection Act, sites will be provided by Local Authority Waste Disposal Companies (LAWDC's) or by the private sector, therefore it is not possible for the UDP to be specific about their location.  Proposals will be assessed in terms of the overall pattern of such sites that may emerge and in terms of their effect on traffic, dust, odours and other nuisance (see M12 - M14).  They may be most appropriate within larger waste transfer and disposal sites.

   
  Sewage Treatment
 
M20

THE CITY COUNCIL WILL ENSURE THAT APPROPRIATE STANDARDS OF SEWAGE TREATMENT CAN BE MET BY ALLOCATING SITES FOR EXTENDED OR NEW SEWAGE TREATMENT WORKS, SUITABLY LOCATED IN RELATION TO DRAINAGE PATTERNS AND TO EXISTING OR PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT.

   
12.97 As a result of EC legislation, secondary sewage treatment facilities have to be provided to deal with the discharge from the existing Hendon sea outfall by 31st December 2000 and new plant is proposed in this locality.  Further detail is provided in the Sunderland South chapter (see SA41).  If capacity problems are found to exist at Sedgeletch and Washington works, in particular, arising from new housing and industrial development, then new facilities there will also be required (see para 12.14).  However, it is understood that these could be developed within existing site boundaries.
 
 
Sunderland City Council
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