Regulatory – Planning and Control Committee
12 February 2007
Report of the Strategic Director – Environmental Services
1 Proposed Surface Mining of Coal at Oxcroft Disposal Point, Mill Lane, Stanfree
Applicant: UK Coal Mining Limited
Code No: CM5/0106/161
Introductory Summary This application seeks permission for a small opencast coal operation within the Oxcroft Coal Disposal Point grounds at Mill Lane, Stanfree. The application has been considered against the development plan and other material considerations and I conclude that the development would not be contrary to relevant policies and guidance and that other considerations in this report, including matters raised by several objectors, do not outweigh this. I recommend approval subject to conditions.
(1) Purpose of Report To enable the Committee to determine the application.
(2) Information and Analysis
The Site and Proposed Development
UK Coal Mining Ltd (UKC) has submitted an application (Code No: CM5/0106/161) for planning permission for the shallow mining of coal from part of the coal stocking yard within Oxcroft Coal Disposal Point (“the DP”) at Mill Lane, Stanfree to the north of Shuttlewood and west of Stanfree.
The DP has two stocking grounds, west and east. The application site of 7.1 hectares is within the lower coal stocking ground at the western end of the DP; this area is now cleared of all coal stocks and coal carpet and is barren. It is bounded to the west by the B6419 Woodthorpe Road, to the south by Mill Lane, and to the north and east by other stocking grounds and a mineral railway line; further east are the plant and buildings of the coal reception/blending/despatch centre and a former colliery tip.
It is proposed to extract 14,110 tonnes of outcrop coal from the southern half of the site (from 2.6 hectares) to a maximum depth of 15 metres over 10 weeks with a further 6 weeks for restoration of the land. An existing topsoil mound along the Mill Lane boundary would be temporarily relocated to the
north-west corner of the site and placed against another existing topsoil mound along Woodthorpe Road; overburden would be excavated and temporarily stored on the red shale base to the north of the extraction area; and coal from four seams would be cleaned, worked from east to west, loaded and transported to the DP railhead. Overburden would then be backfilled, soils from both mounds would be spread to restore the land generally to existing levels, existing lagoons to the north would be retained and reshaped for wildlife purposes, and the site would be landscaped.
Consultations (Original application and revised and additional information about the proposed restoration):
Councillors K Stevenson (Bolsover North-West, Elmton and Whitwell), J Williams (Staveley South [neighbouring]) and A Western (Barlborough and Clowne [neighbouring]) have been notified.
Councillor Stevenson first commented that:
“1 It grieves me to think that having lost my job in the mining industry and many others have also, that coal can be won that we as experienced colliers could have got. Instead many having to make do with low paid work without any pride in doing it. I know this is not a planning issue but feel that it needs saying.
2 The proposals seem fine, in that within 16 weeks the site will be possibly in a better state than originally. But will this timescale be met? I have wind of local opposition to this application and if it is approved and goes over the time limit it will not give confidence for future applications.
3 The whole site owned by UK Coal Mining Ltd at Oxcroft is quite large and may promote other application after this. This would then be more prejudicial to the communities close by from noise, visual impact, air quality and traffic. I realise that this comment cannot be taken with this application, every application needs to be taken on its own merit. But I have seen it happen before that bit by bit taken in small doses a community has been devastated by this kind of philosophy.
4 Depending what time of year this 16 week working takes place I feel is another factor! If it takes place during the summer months then the hours worked Monday to Friday should be curtailed to 0700 to 1700 hrs, again giving those residents in the near vicinity the opportunity to enjoy evenings of High Pressure with warm peaceful sunshine. I realise this would put approximately another 2 weeks extra on the extraction time, but it’s a consideration you need to be aware of.”
Councillor Stevenson later stated: “I was attending a meeting this evening (5/4/06) and the issue of the Planning Application Recovery of coal Oxcroft Stocking Grounds, Mill Lane, Stanfree, for UK Coal Mining Ltd was raised. I must say that the quality of the debate convinced me that to object completely to this application is the only way to stop any further open casting in this area. To allow this to go ahead would jeopardise more than this site but sites that have been resisted in the past i.e. Hoodcroft. This would then open up an area that would be a real blot on the landscape and devastating to the local population. The observations I made to you on 3/2/06 still merit attention but the local community’s views are of utmost importance.”
In response to the revised and additional information Councillor Stevenson maintains his opinion (above) and further states that:
“Within the Restoration scheme I note that the gates will be of steel construction, which is if the application is approved. Would it not be more in keeping if the gates were the old traditional type of the oak 5 bar? I am sure this will be more in keeping with the wood post and rail fencing.” (Comment: Steel gates are proposed in this location for security and maintenance; wooden gates would look better but are more likely to be stolen).
“The aftercare scheme time element is also of concern. What tends to happen is that over a short period everything goes well but then the monitoring element becomes sparse or none existent, which would lead to nature its self looking after the area. This could then create a environmentally (growing wild) aesthetic problem.” (Comment: The site would be purposely restored for wildlife, to be established by imposing five years aftercare, the maximum time permitted by statute).
Will have no impact on the highway infrastructure. No objections from a highway safety point of view.
Bolsover District Council Planning
“Object as the proposals set a precedent for further large scale open casting in the area which would be detrimental to the residents of the area, and that the proposed site itself is too close to residential property and will increase particulates in the air, and the development will have an adverse impact on the regeneration of the District”. “The proposed revisions do not address the objections…it is not intended therefore to make any additional comments…the earlier objection remains”. Local Members of the District Council wish to represent the District Planning Committee at this Committee’s meeting.
Bolsover District Council Environmental Health Officer (EHO)
Has no objections in principle in terms of air quality and dust emissions. The process will be regulated under the Pollution Prevention and Control
Regulations and will therefore be required to control emissions to air in line with the relevant Secretary of State’s Process Guidance Note.
The EHO at first required compliance with Minerals Planning Guidance Note 11 (MPG11) “The Control of Noise at Surface Mineral Workings” (now replaced by Minerals Planning Statement 2 (MPS2) and existing and predicted noise surveys based on BS 5228, Part 1 (1984) “Noise Control on Constuction and Open Sites”. The EHO later stated:
“….I have since received further information from the applicant. Noise control measures in accordance with the requirements of MPS2 including all plant to be fitted with noise baffles are to be applied to the working of the site. Under such circumstances I would have no objection to the application.”
Chesterfield Borough Council (neighbouring)
Does not wish to raise any objection subject to the time-scale of the development being adhered to and the development being restricted to that submitted.
Old Bolsover Town Council
The Town Council has unanimously resolved to oppose the application: “The Council’s view supports the opinions of the previously held public enquiry in respect of any provision to extract coal. These judgements are reflected in the Council’s objections with regard to this proposal, in that the environmental effects on the area are likely to be widespread, continuing over an extended period of time and further that recovery could subsequently lead to the forming of a view that opencast extraction is a legitimate future possibility”. Representatives of the Town Council wish to attend the site visit and Committee to observe and speak, to elaborate upon the objections, as appropriate.
Staveley Town Council (neighbour)
“Has no objections to the application provided it does not exceed the timescale outlined nor extend beyond the boundaries proposed.”
Barlborough Parish Council (near neighbour)
Application as first submitted: “Would like to raise an objection due to the environmental impact”. Revised and additional information: “..Barlborough Parish Council…would like to submit no comments to the proposed recovery of coal”.
The Agency has no objections to the proposed development, but comments about surface drainage and materials if imported for restoration works.
The Coal Authority
Has no observations. UK Coal would need an Opencast Lease/Licence. The rights to work the coal will not be granted unless UK Coal can verify that planning permission has been granted.
Has no comments provided the operations are carried out strictly in accordance with the application details supplied.
Health and Safety Executive
Has no relevant observations to make.
The proposal is in proximity to 132kV overhead lines. Does not object in principle provided statutory safety clearances to conductors and towers are maintained, proximity safety requirements are met and the applicant has agreed safe methods of working. Has advice and detailed requirements regarding ground levels, earth mounds, restoration and landscaping.
Will not affect National Grid’s high voltage electricity transmission plant and equipment.
Clowne and Elmton with Creswell Parish Councils (neighbours), Severn Trent Water Limited and Transco
No comments received.
Publicity and Representations
The application has been advertised in the Derbyshire Times and site notices have been posted in public places in the vicinity of the site. The publicity has generated representations from local residents, a petition and objections from Communities Opposed to Environmental Pollution (COTEP). All written representations received are available for inspection and I set out below a summary of them. I have investigated and taken the valid issues into account in considering the proposals.
Petition: A petition opposing the development has been received. This is signed by 66 persons from 42 houses, 65 of whom live on Bentinck Road, Shuttlewood, and one from Norbriggs Road, Woodthorpe. The petition states that:
“…It would seem that having won our last battle over similar proposals some years ago the local residents are having to gear up and enter another battle as the same criteria is involved, noise, air pollution and heavy traffic, all of which
were stated in our last protest. We the residents have endured this through the last century, surely we are not expected to endure it in the 21st century”.
(Comment: The proposal being small scale, of short duration, and relatively low visual and environmental impact, is substantially dissimilar to the major opencast development previously opposed in the locality. I address this, and the criteria referred to, in this report).
Individual Letters: 32 letters of objection have been received (31 are one of 3 different circular letters) signed by 31 people from 22 local addresses plus 2 unknown locations. The principal grounds for opposition are (my summary):
• The area has been surrounded by opencast workings since before pit closures.
• The area is being regenerated, Coalite closed and Arkwright reclaimed.
• The air is now cleaner and residents look forward to a cleaner environment.
• Tourism is being encouraged and expect a long term prosperous economy.
• UKC is ‘testing the water’ for resubmission of Hoodcroft application.
• There would be extensions of time and area.
• Risk to health from airborne particulates and pollutants.
• Burning one fossil fuel to get another.
• Use of excavations for infill and associated pollution.
• Destruction of the valley.
• Loss of natural habitats and destruction of flora and fauna.
• Devaluing of property.
Communities Opposed to Environmental Pollution (COTEP): Objects to the application for the following reasons (my summary):
1. No community benefit, part of a larger area which will require restoration, avoids an Environmental Statement, and an extension will be pursued.
2. Environmental impacts, airborne particulates will exacerbate asthma regardless of bowsers, diesel will produce carcinogenic particulates, no PM2.5 air monitoring proposed, health effects will not be monitored, evidence of harmful effects by particulates.
3. Cumulative impacts of current developments (Markham Employment Growth Zone [MEGZ], Coalite, landfill operations), local communities have had their fair share of opencasting and pollution, and approval of the application will give developers support for other local opencast mining in the area.
4. The proposal is opposed by District and Parish Councils and many residents, who do not want return to noise, disturbance, dirt, dust and impacts on health.
5. Small volume of coal to be mined, but coal prices are high and will give a gross return of £1 million, with lack of community benefits.
Policy: Sections 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires planning applications to be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The planning policy context of this application is set out in guidance and policy at National, County and District levels.
In considering this application I have paid regard to all material considerations including relevant development plan policy and the policies outlined in Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs), Minerals Planning Guidance Notes (MPGs) and their successor, Planning Policy Statements (PPSs) and Mineral Policy Statements (MPSs) and sustainability principles. The development plan applicable in this case comprises the Derby and Derbyshire Joint Structure Plan (January 2001) (JSP), the Derby and Derbyshire Minerals Local Plan (April 2000) (MLP), including the First Alteration Coal Policies (adopted November 2002) and the Bolsover District Local Plan (BLP).
Consideration of this application in policy terms does start with a presumption against opencast development unless certain tests are satisfied in line with Government guidance and policy in the MLP.
Derby and Derbyshire Minerals Local Plan Opencast Coal Policies: Chapter 13 (as replaced in 2002) of the MLP takes into account Government guidance (MPG3) on coal mining and colliery spoil disposal. It sets out specific policies against which proposals for coal extraction, colliery spoil disposal or coal stocking will be considered. Such proposals also have to satisfy the general policies of the adopted Plan, where relevant.
Key Policy Criteria: The key to a decision on this application lies in the wording in MLP policy MP27 ‘Coal Extraction and Colliery Spoil Disposal’.
Policy MP27 says in part A that proposals for coal extraction will not be permitted unless the impact on the environment is acceptable or capable of being made so by planning conditions or obligations (first test); if not, the impact must be clearly outweighed by local or community benefits (second test). I return to the tests below.
Other Relevant Development Plan Policies: Several other relevant policies, in the adopted MLP, JSP and BLP, place emphasis on protecting and safeguarding the environment. They are referenced where appropriate in this report and listed at the end. Planning permission will not normally be granted where irreparable or unacceptable damage to the environment could result (JSP Minerals Policy 1). The policies together require account to be taken of the impact on local communities, existing and planned development; on neighbours by noise, dust, vibration, other pollution or disturbance; on transport and the highway network; public rights of way and informal recreation areas; visual attributes, the landscape, wildlife and areas of nature conservation interest; agricultural interests; feasibility of achieving a high standard of reclamation; water resources and drainage; archaeology, the built environment, heritage, conservation and historic features.
National Guidelines and Policy: Having paid due regard to relevant national guidance I would particularly mention MPG 3 ‘Coal Mining and Colliery Spoil Disposal’ (revised March 1999) the advice in which was the basis for the MLP Policy MP27, which employs the same sequential tests. Since the MLP is fully MPG3 compliant, I do not refer separately to this guidance further.
Reclamation: The site lies in an environmental priority area for conservation and enhancement of the environment. The environmental benefits of securing an early restoration of this part of the DP may be weighed against any harm likely to be caused by the relatively minor disturbance (in opencast terms) of this small development taking place. The proposals accord with JSP General Development Strategy Policies 1 and 2, MLP Policy 10 and BLP Policy ENV11; the reclamation would, albeit in a small way, enhance the quality of the local environment with minimal impacts and in this context would be sustainable.
Consideration of Precedent: I note the concerns of Councillor Stevenson, Bolsover District Council, Old Bolsover Town Council and objectors that approval of this application may precedent large scale future opencast development in the locality. The farmland to the north and old tip to the east were part of the previous Hoodcroft opencast coal proposals and people are anxious that this proposal may be resurrected. This is always possible of course, but I do not accept that this small operation would set a precedent for future opencast operations on a scale feared by residents, since each planning application must be considered on its merits in accordance with relevant development plan policies and other material considerations including Government guidance. I am convinced that refusal on the grounds of 'precedent' for major opencast operations on large sites elsewhere in the District would not be a defensible or sustainable decision and the Council would face failure and possibly costs should this be challenged on appeal.
Comparisons with Hoodcroft: The original Hoodcroft (I) proposal, later revised and refused planning permission by this Council in 1998, was to extract 900,000 tonnes of coal by opencast methods from 147 hectares of land to the north of the DP over 5 years. The Hoodcroft II proposal, refused planning permission by the Secretary of State on appeal, was to extract 790,000 tonnes of coal by opencast methods from 122.7 hectares of this land in a phased operation over 3 years. The scale of the current proposal, to extract about 14,000 tonnes of coal from less than 3 hectares over 2.5 months, does not compare.
Hoodcroft I, did not accord with development plan policy: The benefits did not outweigh the substantial, unacceptable cumulative impact and disturbance to the local landscape and amenities (destruction of the countryside, visual intrusion, noise, dust and blasting); the reclamation was not significant relative to the large site; the extended period for large scale mining would have been detrimental to the coalfield regeneration and local economy; and conditions would not overcome the unacceptable effects. The Hoodcroft II proposals failed the relevant tests in MPG3 in that the overburden and soil mounds would be an extremely prominent alien intrusion in the countryside, views from Stanfree would receive little amelioration, temporary operations would produce a harmful degree of noise for local residents, and the relatively minor benefits would not outweigh these impacts. In comparison, in this case the development would have minimal environmental impacts and would be policy compliant (as indicated in this report).
Planning Status of the Site: The site benefits from planning permission (BOL/478/192 as varied by CM5/1293/101) for coal stocking until 31 May 2009. If adequate coal supplies became available stocking and associated activities could resume across the whole of the application area.
Duration and Scale of Proposed Operation: MPS2 states that account should be taken of the level of existing activity and impacts, duration and nature of proposals for new working, and the duration of the work can be a significant factor in determining appropriate levels of control and mitigation. The site is currently part of an operational DP and in the context of this, and in opencast terms the duration of the proposed development would be short and the scale, small. In comparison with most opencast coal sites:
• the site is very small;
• the mineral working would involve only a small amount of coal and a short period of operation;
• the relocated topsoil storage mound would be temporary and no higher than the 5 metres high (maximum) existing soil mounds;
• the overburden mound would be relatively low, up to 7 metres high (23 feet), with a maximum extent of about 160 x 70 metres; to put this in
context coal stocking is currently permitted over the whole of the stocking grounds up to 4.88 metres (16 feet) high;
• at maximum capacity (64,000 cubic metres) the overburden mound would remain in place for only 4 to 5 weeks (much screened from view);
• the coal excavation depth would be shallow.
Infrastructure, Drainage and Water Pollution Control: The site is securely fenced and the site access, offices and car parks already exist. There is no need for new infrastructure for the development. A site drainage regime is in place, with perimeter cut-off ditches and securely fenced water treatment areas; all discharges are subject to the Environment Agency consent which protects ground and surface water. There are no other watercourses on the site and the proposals do not conflict with the water resource objectives of JSP Environment Policy 6, MLP Policies MP1 and MP4 and BLP Policy GEN5.
Rail Facility and Transportation: The concerns in the petition about ‘heavy traffic’ are unwarranted as coal would be transported internally direct to the existing rail loading complex at the DP and not to the local road network. The operations would not generate any mineral laden lorry traffic on the public highway or have any impact on the highway infrastructure or highway safety. Thus, in highway terms, the proposals comply with the road use and impact reduction objectives of the relevant JSP Transport Policies and MLP Policies MP1 and MP4; and in rail freight terms support the objectives of BLP Policies TRA2, TRA4 and TRA6, JSP Transport Policy 7 and the MLP paragraph 3.27. No objections arise, therefore, from the highway viewpoint subject to prohibition of this coal leaving the site by road vehicles.
Location and Housing: Policies in the MLP acknowledge that people living close to mineral workings may be exposed to environmental effects and seeks to ensure the adverse effects on communities are minimised. However, in this case the site is relatively remote from residential property. The nearest properties are Lodge Farm (about 345m away) and Bentinck Road houses (about 530m) at Shuttlewood, and Bank House (about 400m to the north separated from the site by the M1 motorway).
Noise: Monitoring of existing noise at the site has been carried out. Due to the proximity of the motorway and existing operations at the DP the background noise levels are high. The short duration operations would employ a small complement of plant some of which are already in use at the DP. The EHO has considered the background noise and plant sound power levels and has raised no concerns. Given the distance of the site from dwellings, and subject to appropriate mitigation, I am satisfied that any additional noise received off site from the proposed operations is not likely to be a significant problem, would not contravene the objectives of MLP Policies MP1 and MP3,
and JSP General Development Strategy Policy 1, and would remain acceptable within the guidelines set by MPS2.
Dust: Wind blown dust if not properly controlled can have an environmental impact and affect the quality of life of communities. Fugitive dust from this site could arise from vegetation clearance, site preparation, the movement of plant and vehicles around the site, diesel engine emissions, soil movements, traffic on the internal road, the excavation and tipping of overburden, construction and dismantling of the soil and overburden mounds, coal stocking, and restoration including backfilling, soil placement and treatment. The severity of dust could vary according to season, time of day, soil moisture, temperature, humidity, wind frequency, strength and direction. In considering the potential for dust I have taken into account the limited operations proposed, the relative remoteness from residential areas, the proximity of the motorway, prevalent wind, the lagoons with water supply available for dust suppression, mitigation and available controls.
I have noted the concerns of COTEP about airborne particulates and health risks but these comments need to be considered in context relative to current advice and the scale and location of the operation. MPS2 and the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) endorse the results and recommendations of the Newcastle Health Study Report; this showed opencast activity was associated with a small increase in mean concentration of PM10 particulate levels but levels of asthma, wheeze or bronchitis in children in communities close to opencast sites was very similar to the levels of those in communities distant from such sites.
Properties at Shuttlewood are upwind of the prevalent dry weather winds; Stanfree to the east is at distance with intervening topography and deflective value of the colliery tip; only Romeley Hall Farm is directly down prevalent dry wind but at a distance of about 990m from the nearest edge of the proposed temporary overburden mound. MPS2 says residents can be affected by dust up to 1km from source, although perception and concerns are most likely experienced within 100m.
In my view, a detailed assessment on dust is not necessary in this case given the minor contained nature of the proposal (in opencast terms), the distances to sensitive receptors and the measures available to control dust at source. It is highly unlikely the National Air Quality Standard (NAQS) (50 µg/m3) would be breached (predicted baseline air quality PM10 level for this locality is 22.0µg/m3; a 2µg/m3 addition which is typical of a large opencast site would not exceed the NAQS; and by comparison monitoring in the vicinity of the large opencast site at Arkwright has consistently showed the site was not a dominant source of PM10 particulates in the area).
To protect the local environment best practice measures for dust control as advised in MPS2 would be adequate in this case. I recommend a suitable condition to require an appropriate Dust Action Plan to be implemented. I am satisfied that, subject to such mitigation, dust from the operations should not materially increase the existing dust climate, nor have a significant effect on local residential amenity, nor contravene the objectives of MLP Policies MP1 and MP3, and JSP General Development Strategy Policy 1, and would remain acceptable within the guidelines set by MPS2 and MPG3.
Visual Screening: The site lies in the low part of a shallow valley and is open to views from the motorway, farms and public locations off Woodthorpe Road and Bolsover Road, houses on Bentinck Road, and to a lesser extent from higher distant ground at Shuttlewood and Clowne Road, Stanfree. None of these views would yield significant impacts given the distances involved, intervening vegetation in the landscape, and views from Stanfree being limited by topography and the colliery tip east of the DP. Closer to the site, views of the proposed operations would be restricted by existing site perimeter screening (tree planted mounds), and the containment of operations within the DP complex. Any views of the development would be limited to the 16 weeks duration of the operations after which the visual appearance of this part of the DP would be improved.
An existing topsoil screen mound and vegetation alongside Woodthorpe Road would be retained. A topsoil linear bund parallel to Mill Lane would be removed and relocated to the north to maximise coal recovery. However, the belt of mature vegetation between Mill Lane and the mound would be retained. The vegetation is effective in mitigating views into the site from near and far, notably during the months when the trees are in leaf and when operations would take place.
Landscape and Ecology: The site has no landscape designations. The development would not have significant effects on landscape character. The only trees to be affected (by removal of the soil mound) are small, self-set, and of no particular value; the main existing tree block would be retained and enhanced by new planting compliant with JSP Environment Policy 1, MLP Policy MP10 and BLP Policies ENV8 and ENV9. The moderate effects would be transient in nature pending enhanced landscape restoration.
The site has no significant ecological interest. No protected species are present. On the site periphery woodland habitats would be protected, neutral grassland and a pond enhanced in the restoration. The proposals would have no material impacts on surrounding habitats or other features. The restoration scheme should ensure habitat creation and biodiversity which accords with JSP Environment Policy 15, MLP Policy MP10 and BLP Policy ENV5.
I am satisfied therefore that in landscape and ecological terms the development accords with MLP Policies MP4 and MP6, JSP Environment Policies 1 and 14, BLP Policy ENV5 and PPS9.
Rights of Way and Informal Recreation: There are no public rights of way on the application site. I, nevertheless, recommend advice to the applicant about the reinstatement of Footpath 55 (Bolsover), which passes through the DP and over the colliery tip to the east of the site, and a link to Footpath 23 (Bolsover), in accordance with JSP Leisure and Tourism Policy 3.
Other Interests of Acknowledged Importance: There are none.
Cumulative Impact: MPG3 acknowledges that there may be proposals for simultaneous operations over a relatively short period of time or phased operations at a succession of sites over a relatively longer period of time, with potential for cumulative impacts on the locality. It is therefore important to consider the extent of impacts the locality, community and environment can reasonably be expected to tolerate over a particular or proposed period. Whilst the site lies within an area extensively disturbed by past coal mining operations, the scale, duration and containment of the proposal within an existing approved complex should not materially add to any perception of long term disturbance or environmental effects.
Economic Considerations: The application states that the proposal would avoid the sterilisation of coal reserves for which there is strong demand; however, since the site would eventually be restored to open uses in any case, I do not consider sterilisation to be an issue. The development would result in the creation of four jobs but I do not consider this is a consideration of great significance, given the short duration of operations.
Restoration and Aftercare: The application first proposed an interim restoration to ensure early reinstatement of the stocking ground to species rich grassland pending an overall scheme for the ultimate longer term restoration of the entire DP. I considered this unsatisfactory and the application has been revised to provide an improved restoration plan. This, in my view, still requires further amendment. There would also be a need for the aftercare of the restored land. I recommend appropriate conditions. It should be noted that subsoil is not available for use in the restoration as this now underlies the existing tree areas proposed for retention, but any other recoverable suitable soil-making material and the topsoil in store (other than that sterilised by an electricity pylon) would be used.
MLP Policy MP27 and Environmental Impact: To return to the tests in MP27, for the first test (environmental acceptability), I have examined the environmental aspects of the proposals against development plan criteria, especially MLP Policies MP1, MP3 and MP4, BLP Policy GEN2 and guidance
in MPS2 which state the principles to be followed. I have examined whether the site can be operated and restored to acceptable standards taking into account the extent of any impacts (including cumulative impacts) on the environment and local communities, mitigation, and benefit from the proposed advanced restoration. I have concluded that in taking into account the scale of the proposal, likely environmental effects, and the additional criteria in part B of the policy (which I conclude do not apply in this instance), the impact on the environment would, subject to appropriate controls, be acceptable and the working and restoration of the site can be undertaken with minimal adverse effects in compliance with MLP Policy MP1, JSP Minerals Policy 1, BLP Policy GEN2, other policy criteria and guidance.
MP27 and Community Benefits: The views of COTEP that there is no community benefit are not relevant within the context of MP27 in that, having satisfied the first test of environmental acceptability, it is not necessary to weigh the benefits of the proposal in the second test. However, the development offers the benefit of bringing forward the restoration of this part of the DP and makes it subject to improved conditions. In this context the proposal relates to certain criteria in Part C of the Policy: the restoration of this despoiled area is unlikely to be achieved at this early date and subject to such improved conditions by other means, in terms of the local environment early enhancement of the landscape and biodiversity would benefit the community.
(Note: this Policy sets out in more detail the considerations in JSP Minerals Policy 6, which I need not refer to further).
Conclusions: The proposed development does not conflict with relevant development plan policies and in particular MLP Policy MP27. I have carefully considered the representations but, taking into account the location and existing use of the site and ambient environment, the location of houses, the scale, duration and containment of the proposal, and the likely environmental effects, I do not consider the objections are sustainable. The impact on the environment would, subject to appropriate conditions, be acceptable; the working and restoration of the site with mitigation is unlikely to have any significant adverse impact on soil, water, flora, fauna, landscape, cultural heritage, human beings, land-use, agriculture, or recreation such as to warrant a refusal in this instance.
(3) Financial Considerations The correct fee of £9,585 has been received.
(4) Legal and Human Rights Considerations The application is submitted under Part III of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and falls to be determined by the County Council as Mineral Planning Authority.
I do not consider that there would be any disproportionate impacts on anyone’s human rights under the European Convention of Human Rights as a result of the permission being granted subject to the conditions referred to in the Office Recommendation.
(5) Environmental and Health Considerations As contained in the report. The protection of amenity is embodied in the recommended conditions.
In preparing this report the relevance of the following factors has been considered: prevention of crime and disorder, equality of opportunity; and personnel and property considerations.
(6) Background Papers Planning application forms, certificates, and supporting statement, plans, correspondence and consultations all on file 5.396.10.
(7) Officer Recommendation That the Committee resolve to grant planning permission in respect of application Code No: CM5/0106/161 for the shallow mining of coal from part of the coal stocking yard within Oxcroft Coal Disposal Point (DP) at Mill Lane, Stanfree, for UK Coal Mining Limited subject to the following conditions:
Section One: General Principles
1) The Site: For the purposes of applying the conditions attached to this permission the term ‘the site’ shall mean the whole of the area shown outlined in red and all other areas associated with the development (including the rail loading facilities and the internal access road to them, and Mill Lane access) within the area shown outlined in blue on the submitted Plan No: 189-DO2.
2) Approved Details: Unless modified or required by other conditions attached to this permission, the development shall be carried out only in accordance with the details submitted in the written application documents, mineral questionnaire, supporting statement and appendices, and as shown on the submitted Drawings Nos: 189-DO1 and 189-DO2, and the site shall be restored only in accordance with the restoration details specified in Condition 43 to this permission.
3) Availability of Plans: From the commencement of the development and until completion of the restoration of the site a copy of this permission 15
including all plans and documents hereby approved, and any other plans and documents subsequently approved in accordance with this permission, shall always be kept available on the site for inspection during the prescribed working hours.
4) Emergency Telephone Number: A sign, positioned at the site entrance giving the name, business address and emergency telephone number of a nominated representative of the operating company, with whom contact should be made if any nuisance is perceived or complaints arise in consequence of carrying out the approved operations, shall be maintained for the duration of the operations hereby approved.
Section Two: Time-scales (Life of Planning Permission and Operating Times)
5) Commencement: The development hereby approved shall be commenced within six months of the date of this permission and the date of commencement of the development shall be notified in writing to the Mineral Planning Authority prior to commencement.
6) Duration of Planning Permission: On or before the date which is 16 weeks from the date of commencement of the development, all mineral extraction operations shall have ceased, all plant and machinery shall be removed, and the land shall have been restored in accordance with the other conditions to this permission. Where, in the opinion of the Mineral Planning Authority, ground and soil moisture conditions are such as to prevent the replacement and treatment of soils at the appropriate stage in the restoration, the restoration shall be completed as soon as is practicably possible thereafter.
7) Notification Dates: The following dates shall be notified in writing to the Mineral Planning Authority no later than seven working days after each date:
a) commencement of operations;
b) completion of restoration (prior to commencement of aftercare works).
8) Approved Times of Operation: Except in emergencies to maintain safe operational practices, the nature and circumstances of which shall be notified to the Mineral Planning Authority as soon as practicable, or unless the Mineral Planning Authority has agreed otherwise in writing, no operations other than the servicing, maintenance and testing of plant shall be carried out except between the following times:
0700 and 1900 hours on Mondays to Fridays; and
0700 and 1300 hours on Saturdays. 16
No servicing, maintenance and testing of plant shall be carried out except between the following times:
0700 - 2200 hours on Mondays to Fridays;
0700 - 1700 hours on Saturdays.
No operations shall be carried out at any other time or on Sundays or Bank Holidays or Public Holidays.
9) Restriction on Site Development Times: Unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Mineral Planning Authority beforehand, no site development work which involves the destruction or disturbance of trees and hedgerows shall be undertaken during the bird nesting season (April to August).
Section Three: Working Method
10) Scheme of Operations: The progressive extraction of minerals and restoration of the site shall be carried out in accordance with the working methodology specified in section 3 of the applicant’s supporting statement and as shown on Drawing No: 189-DO2, except as otherwise required by other conditions to this permission.
Section Four: Transportation and Access
11) Rail Use: All coal from the site shall leave the site by rail via the existing rail loading complex at the Oxcroft Coal Disposal Point. No coal from the site shall leave the grounds of the Oxcroft Coal Disposal Point site by road vehicles on to Mill Lane or Woodthorpe Road and the local road network.
12) Highway Access: Plant and machinery, service and employees’ vehicles shall only enter the site via the existing site access on Mill Lane. Surfacing of the site access shall be maintained in a solid bound material and repaired as necessary throughout the duration of the approved development including the period of aftercare.
13) Parking and Manoeuvring: No plant, machinery or vehicles associated with the approved development shall be parked or left on Mill Lane outside the site. Adequate parking, loading and unloading, turning and manoeuvring areas suitable for all mobile plant and vehicles visiting the site shall be provided, suitably surfaced and maintained within the site at all times
14) Highway Cleanliness: No mud, stones or other material shall be taken from the site and deposited on to any public highway. No plant or vehicles shall enter the public highway from any part of the site without first using existing or new vehicle wheel, underside, carriageside and cabside washing facilities. Any new facilities shall be installed in accordance with details which have received the prior written approval of the Mineral Planning Authority. Additional facilities for keeping the highway and the site access and egress clean and to prevent the spillage of materials shall be provided at the written request of the Mineral Planning Authority and shall be used at all times during the implementation of the development.
Section Five: Ancillary Development (Installations, Plant, Machinery and Stockpiles)
15) Restriction on Permitted Development Rights: Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 3 and Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, or any amending Order, no fixed plant or machinery, buildings or structures in the nature of plant or machinery and no processing plant shall be placed or erected on the site unless otherwise approved in writing beforehand by the Mineral Planning Authority. The Mineral Planning Authority shall not be bound to consider under the terms of this condition an ancillary building or structure which the Authority considers is a material addition to the development such as to warrant the submission of a planning application.
16) Details of Plant and Buildings: The design and colours of any ancillary buildings, structures, plant, fences and gates shall be in accordance with details which have received the prior written approval of the Mineral Planning Authority.
17) Mineral Stockpiles: No coal stocking shall take place within the application boundary other than is necessary for the day to day stocking of coal consistent with the rate of extraction and removal to active stocking areas and/or rail-loading facilities within the coal disposal point.
No coal shall be stocked above the currently permitted maximum height of 4.88 metres.
All coal shall be removed from the application area prior to the commencement of restoration works. Thereafter, and notwithstanding the provisions of the planning permission Code No: BOL/478/192 as varied by the planning permission Code No: CM5/1293/101, no further stocking of coal shall take place within the application area.
18) Plant Maintenance: No servicing, maintenance or testing of plant associated with the approved development shall be carried out within the
application area or on open stocking grounds except in the case of mechanical breakdown where the plant is immobilised.
19) Clearance of Ancillary Development: At such time as they are no longer required for the approved development all plant and any structures, other installations, tanks, machinery or temporary buildings approved under the terms of this permission for the purpose of carrying out the approved development shall be removed from the site.
Section Six: Control of Noise
20) Noise Suppression Measures: At all times during the carrying out of the approved operations all practicable noise suppression measures shall be applied to the operation of mobile plant, machinery and vehicles, screening and other process plant. All vehicles, plant and machinery shall operate on the site only during the permitted hours, except in emergency, and shall be maintained in accordance with manufacturers' specifications at all times, and shall be fitted with and use effective silencers or other acoustic mitigation devices/shrouds as appropriate. Save for the purposes of maintenance, no machinery shall be operated with the covers open or removed.
21) Noise Limits During Normal Operations: Except as provided at Condition 22, below, the free-field Equivalent Continuous Noise Level LAeq, 1 Hour, received at any noise sensitive property (dwelling house, school or place of work) from operations within the site, shall not exceed the limits set out in Annex 2: Noise to Minerals Policy Statement 2 (MPS2): Controlling and Mitigating the Environmental Effects of Minerals Extraction in England. That is, the noise received shall not exceed the background noise level (LA90,T) by more than 10dB(A), subject to a maximum of 55dB(A). Measurements shall be taken in accordance with BS4142: 1997 and the advice in Annex 2 to MPS2.
22) Noise Limits During Temporary Operations: The noise limits in Condition 21 may be exceeded for noise emitted from the formation and dismantling of the soil and overburden mounds and received at any noise sensitive property for a total period of not more than eight weeks provided that the noise received shall not exceed 70dBLAeq 1 hour at any time. Measurements shall be taken in accordance with BS4142: 1997 and the advice in Annex 2 to MPS2.
23) Reversing Alarms: Reversing alarms used on vehicles on the site shall be either non-audible, ambient related or low tone devices. Where existing audible reversing bleepers are fitted on mobile plant at the coal disposal point they shall be replaced to comply with this condition prior to 19
commencement of their use in connection with the development hereby approved.
24) Monitoring Noise in Response to Complaint: In the event of complaint that the Mineral Planning Authority considers justifies the monitoring of noise from the site, the operator shall undertake the monitoring of site noise levels at the site boundary and at the appropriate noise sensitive property at the request of, and submit the results to, the Mineral Planning Authority. The monitoring shall be undertaken for a minimum of 15 minutes per monitoring event during those working hours specified in Condition 8 for the operation or operations responsible for the complaint. Monitoring shall not be undertaken during meal breaks except where the purpose is to monitor noise from fixed plant, nor during periods of plant breakdown nor when the wind is blowing towards the site from a monitoring point or during wind speeds in excess of 5 metres per second (average over the monitoring period) nor during periods of heavy rain. Measurements so taken shall have regard to the effects of extraneous noise and shall be corrected for such effects.
The results of the noise monitoring which shall include LA90,T free-field and L Aeq,T free-field noise levels, and details of the noise monitoring equipment used, prevailing weather conditions, comments on noise sources controlling the noise climate, modelling procedures and procedures to be adopted if the noise limits exceed the approved levels, shall be made available to the Mineral Planning Authority upon request.
Section Seven: Control of Dust, Smoke, Fumes and Waste
25) Dust Generation and Control: All operations for the winning and working of coal, restoration works and ancillary operations and development, shall be carried out in a manner to minimise the generation of dust, and suitable dust prevention and control measures shall be implemented and maintained at all times during the carrying out of the approved development.
26) Dust Action Plan: Specific measures to prevent or minimise the generation of dust shall be implemented in accordance with a Dust Action Plan which shall include all of the following:
a) the maintenance of an adequate water supply;
b) the operation of dust suppression equipment including water bowsers and, if necessary (as may be determined by the Mineral Planning Authority), sprinkler systems;
c) use of modern dust suppression and collection equipment which shall be installed on all plant likely to give rise to dust generation;
d) regular monitoring to ensure the efficient functioning of the equipment and maintenance works as necessary;
e) measures to ensure that all exhausts and silencers fitted to all earth-moving equipment, plant and vehicles used on the site are upward facing (discharge away from the ground) and that radiator fan deflector plates are fitted on heavy plant to keep dust displacement to a minimum;
f) keeping active haul roads and the site access road damp;
g) regular maintenance and cleaning of the site access road;
h) regular cleaning of all surfaced areas of the site to remove dust deposits likely to be windswept or raised by the passage of plant and vehicles;
i) soil and overburden mounds to be graded, seeded and managed to eliminate dust from wind scour;
j) site personnel to undertake daily inspections during operations and take corrective action where necessary.
The Plan shall pay attention to the movement of soils and overburden, the formation of mounds, the moisture content of the materials, the strength and prevailing direction of the wind relative to residential areas, and the need for preventing dust arising from the transport of the coal to the railhead.
27) Dust Monitoring: At the request of the Mineral Planning Authority the monitoring of dust emissions from the site shall be undertaken using such equipment and methodology at such locations and for such duration and frequency as may be agreed with a representative of the Mineral Planning Authority. The monitoring results shall be analysed and presented to the Mineral Planning Authority within one week of each monitoring event.
28) Cessation of Operations in the Event of Dust Nuisance: In the event of dust from the site becoming a nuisance to local residents such as to give rise to justifiable complaint, or in the event that dust deposits exceed a ‘nuisance threshold’ of 200mg/m2/day, the operation causing the excessive dust shall cease until such time as conditions improve or the operation can be effectively controlled.
29) Burning (Smoke and Fumes): There shall be no burning of rubbish or wastes or other fires on the site, except as may be required by the Mines and Quarries Act 1954 and any other relevant legislation.
30) Rubbish, Scrap Materials and Disused Machinery: All rubbish, debris, scrap and other waste material generated on the site (other than mineral waste) shall be regularly collected and stored in a tidy manner in a contained and inconspicuous location until disposed of in a suitable facility.
Section Eight: Blasting
31) Prohibition of Explosives: No blasting shall be carried out on the site in connection with the development hereby approved.
Section Nine: Drainage and Water Pollution Control
32) Surface Water Drainage in the Vicinity of the Site: There shall be no interruption to the surface water drainage system surrounding the site save for any necessary diversion or rearrangement of the drainage system where affected by the approved operations.
33) Contaminated Site Drainage: There shall be no discharge of foul or contaminated drainage from the site into the ground, ground water or any surface waters, whether direct or via soakaways. All necessary measures shall be taken to prevent effluents, oil, fuel or lubricant being discharged to any watercourse, ground water system or underground strata.
34) Tipping: Nothing other than uncontaminated natural materials excavated from the site shall be tipped on the site.
35) Storage of Potential Contaminants: Any oil, fuel, lubricant and other potential pollutants shall be handled on the site in such a manner as to prevent pollution of any watercourse or aquifer. All facilities for the storage of oils, fuels or chemicals shall be sited on impervious bases and surrounded by impervious bund walls. The volume of each bunded compound shall be at least equivalent to the capacity of the tank and associated pipework plus 10%. If there is multiple tankage within a bund, the compound shall be at least equivalent to the capacity of the largest tank, vessel or the combined capacity of interconnected tanks or vessels and associated pipework plus 10%. All filling and emptying points, associated valves, vents, tank overflow outlets, pipework, gauges and sight glasses shall be located within the bund or have separate secondary containment. Associated pipework shall be located above ground and protected from accidental damage. All filling points and tank/vessels overflow pipe outlets shall be detailed to discharge downwards into the bund. There shall be no drain through any bund floor or walls. The
drainage system of each bund shall be sealed with no discharge to any watercourse, land or underground strata.
Section Ten: Conservation
Boundaries and Site Security
36) All existing hedges and fences on the site boundary shall be maintained stockproof and protected from damage throughout the period of operations until the restoration of the site has been completed. Existing undisturbed hedgerows within, or on the site boundary, shall be maintained, cut and trimmed at the proper season throughout the period of working and restoration.
Soil Handling and Storage of Soils
37) Vegetation Clearance of Soils to be Stripped: Immediately prior to the excavation or stripping of any soils from the site all vegetation above a height of 154mm (6") above ground level shall be removed from the areas to be excavated or stripped.
38) Topsoil Removal: Before the topsoil mound to be relocated and any other topsoil areas are traversed by heavy vehicles or machinery (except for the purpose of removal of the soil), all available topsoil shall be removed from the mound, excavation and other areas.
39) Subsoil and Soil Making Material Recovery: Suitable subsoil and soil-making material in quantities sufficient to compensate for the shortfall in soils necessary for the restoration of the site in accordance with a scheme approved under Condition 43 shall be recovered where found and practicable during the excavation operations and separately stored adjacent to the proposed temporary overburden mound for use during the restoration phase.
40) Soil Handling Conditions: The excavation, stripping, movement, storage, lifting, placement and treatment of topsoil and any subsoil shall only take place in accordance with the good practice techniques. No soil handling or treatment shall take place except during periods of dry weather when the full depth of soil to be handled is in a suitably dry and friable soil moisture condition (ie. non-plastic state) such that damage to its structure is avoided. The Mineral Planning Authority shall be notified at least seven days prior to any soil excavation, stripping, or placement event, and opportunity shall be given to a representative of the Mineral Planning Authority for inspection of the condition of the soil to be handled prior to handling.
41) Soil Retention: All topsoil and any subsoil and soil-making materials shall be retained on the site for use in the restoration.
Section Eleven: Restoration, Drainage, Landscaping and Ecology
42) Importation: There shall be no importation of fill materials. There shall be no importation of soils or soil ameliorants to the site without the prior approval in writing of the Mineral Planning Authority.
43) Scheme of Restoration, Drainage, Landscaping and Ecology: A detailed scheme for the restoration, drainage and landscaping of the site and the provision of wildlife habitats shall be submitted to the Mineral Planning Authority within two months of the date of this permission. The site shall be restored in accordance with the details as approved, modified by, or in accordance with such changes as may later be approved in writing by the Mineral Planning Authority. The scheme shall be based on the details in the submitted ‘Restoration Scheme’ document dated June 2006 as amended by the details in the letter dated 19 September 2006 from Heaton Planning and shown on Drawings Nos: 189-DO3B, 189-DO4, UKC/LR/01d, UKC/LR/11a, and UKC/LR/18d, but shall also include details of the following:
a) regrading of the northern embankment;
b) a revised seed mix for the species rich grassland (footnote 1);
c) a shrub species mix for edge planting;
d) a guarantee of UK sourced seed;
e) ground preparation for planting;
f) provision of planting and/or fencing on the northern boundary;
g) hedgerow, low fertility grassland and shrubs on the eastern
h) details of planting and seeding in the vicinity of the ponds;
i) treatment around the ponds to encourage Lepidoptera;
j) planting stock sizes, spacings and numbers;
k) provision for tree protection and vermin control;
l) the maintenance of species rich pasture;
m) the maintenance of grassland around the ponds;
n) management of existing hedgerows during and after working;
o) laying of existing hedgerows after working;
p) clarification on the type of fencing to be used and where.
44) Overburden Replacement: At the completion of overburden replacement in accordance with the approved final contours, the operators shall meet on site with representatives of the Mineral Planning Authority and other parties with interest in the land. The purpose of the meeting shall be to agree that the replaced overburden and the regraded embankment conforms generally to the levels set out in the approved restoration
contour plan and that the contours, after replacement of soils, shall be satisfactory for drainage and agricultural and nature conservation use.
45) Overburden Treatment: Following the replacement of the overburden, and before the replacement of soils, the upper layers of the overburden shall be subsoiled (rooted) with a heavy-duty subsoiler. Such treatment is to ensure within a total depth of 1,200 mm below the surface of the topsoil there is:
(a) no shale, bind, or other sterile material injurious to plant life;
(b) no rock, stone, boulder or other material capable of preventing or impeding normal agricultural or land drainage operations including mole ploughing or subsoiling;
(c) no wire, rope, cable or foreign objects;
(d) no excessively compacted zone;
(e) a reasonably level, but uncompacted surface suitable to receive soils.
Stones at the surface of the subsoiled replaced overburden which exceed 230 mm in any direction and other deleterious materials shall be removed from the site or buried on site not less than 2 metres below final surface contours.
46) Subsoil and Soil Making Material Replacement and Treatment: Any available soil making material and subsoil shall be respread evenly over those areas on which it shall be agreed between the operators and the Mineral Planning Authority, shall receive such subsoil.
The subsoil shall be treated so as to comply with the general requirements of Condition 45. The subsoil/soil making material shall be subsoiled (rooted) and the subsoiling operation shall penetrate at least 150 mm into the underlying layer to relieve compaction at the interface. Any subsoil upon which other soils have been stored shall be subsoiled (rooted) as above. Stones at the surface of the subsoiled subsoil/soil making material which exceed 150 mm in any direction and other deleterious materials, shall be removed from the land or buried on site no less than 2 metres below final surface contours.
47) Topsoil Replacement and Treatment: After replacement of any soil making material and subsoil all available topsoil shall be respread evenly over those areas on which it shall be agreed between the operators and the Mineral Planning Authority shall receive such topsoil.
The topsoil shall be subsoiled (rooted), cultivated and left so as to comply with the requirements of Condition 45. Any topsoil on which other soil has been stored shall be subsoiled (rooted) and cultivated as above. Stones at the surface of the subsoiled (rooted) topsoil which exceed 100 mm in any direction and other deleterious materials, shall be removed from the site or buried on site not less than 2 metres below the final surface contours.
Section Twelve: Post-Restoration Aftercare and Maintenance
48) Aftercare Scheme: A detailed aftercare scheme providing for such steps as may be necessary to bring the restored land to the required standard for use for agriculture, woodland and wildlife shall be submitted for the approval of the Mineral Planning Authority. The aftercare scheme shall be submitted to the Mineral Planning Authority together with the submission of the scheme for the restoration, drainage and landscaping of the site required by Condition 43. Aftercare shall be carried out in accordance with the scheme as approved and such detailed annual programmes as may subsequently be approved in writing by the Mineral Planning Authority.
49) Aftercare Records: Records of the aftercare operations shall be kept by the operators throughout the period of aftercare and the records, together with an annual review of performance and proposed operations for the coming year, shall be submitted to the Mineral Planning Authority between July and September of each year. The records shall include appraisal of the success of establishing the planting and wildlife habitats.
50) Aftercare Meetings: The applicant shall provide for annual meetings with the Mineral Planning Authority to be held between August and October each year. The meetings shall determine the annual programmes of aftercare that shall be submitted for each successive year having regard to the condition of the land and progress in its rehabilitation. The meetings shall include inspection and appraisal of landscape and wildlife establishment.
51) Planting Maintenance: For the first five years following implementation, planting shall be maintained in accordance with the principles of good forestry and husbandry, and any hedgerow plants and trees which die or become seriously damaged or diseased shall be replaced with the same species or such alternative species as may be approved by the Mineral Planning Authority. There shall be 100% replacement planting (‘beat-up’) annually during and at the end of the five year period.
Reasons for Conditions
The conditions are imposed in general terms to minimise any adverse effects of the approved development on the local community, local environment, landscape, ecology and water. More specifically the conditions are imposed for the following reasons:
1) To clarify the site to which the conditions apply.
2) To clarify the approved details and to ensure the containment of operations within a sensitive local environment and landscape.
3) To ensure that the site operators are fully aware of the conditions and the details of the approved plans at all times for the purpose of compliance.
4) To provide a contact number for the local community in the event of nuisance or complaints.
5) In conformity with Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
6) To limit the duration of the development in the interests of the local environment and amenity and to ensure the early restoration of the application area in accordance with the commitments given in the application.
7) To enable the Mineral Planning Authority to properly monitor the progress and timing of key stages of the approved operations having regard to the restrictions on the time-scale of the development, and to determine the aftercare periods.
8) To prevent disturbance to local communities at unacceptable times.
9) To protect nesting birds.
10) To facilitate an orderly, effective and controlled method of working,
and minimise disturbance and the duration of operations.
11) To restrict the export of coal to the railway to prevent the unnecessary use of local roads and local disturbance by heavy goods vehicles.
12) To maintain and ensure the use of an adequate means of sole access to the site for use by plant, machinery and vehicles.
13) To ensure adequate parking and manoeuvring space within the site for site personnel, mobile plant and machinery and service vehicles.
14) To prevent contamination of the public highway in the interests of highway safety and appearance.
15 & 16) To control the unnecessary spread, siting and appearance of
plant, machinery, buildings and structures.
17) To minimise stockpiling and ensure the permanent withdrawal of coal stocking operations from the application area.
18) In the interests of the appearance of the area and local amenity.
19) To ensure clearance of the site in the interests of visual amenity.
20) To minimise and prevent unnecessary disturbance from machine noise.
21) To ensure noise emissions during the carrying out of normal operations are kept to acceptable levels to protect the local residential environment.
22) To ensure noise emissions during the carrying out of temporary (noisier) operations are kept to acceptable levels to protect the local residential environment.
23) To prevent noise disturbance by intermittent bleepers.
24) To ensure effective monitoring in response to complaints to ensure the adequacy of noise control measures.
25 & 26) To minimise and control the generation of dust to protect local residential amenity and the environment.
27) To ensure that dust at dust sensitive locations does not exceed a “nuisance threshold” 0.5%EAC or deposition rate of 80mg/m2/day for black coal dust, 200mg/m2/day for non-toxic dust.
28) To protect local residential amenity and the environment from dust emissions.
29) To protect local amenity and the environment from smoke.
30) To protect human and other receptors and the ground and water environment from harm and pollution by contaminants.
31) To prevent unnecessary disturbance by ground vibration, noise and air overpressure in the interests of local residential amenity and the environment.
32) To ensure that existing drainage systems continue to operate effectively.
33, 34 & 35): To protect the quality of the water environment and to ensure adequate protection to deal with site drainage and contaminants in the interests of drainage, flooding and pollution control.
36) To conserve and protect site boundaries in the interests of the appearance of the area and to protect adjacent interests.
37) To avoid bind in the recovered soils.
38) To conserve and protect topsoil for use in the restoration of the site.
39) To conserve and protect subsoil and soil making materials for use in the restoration of the site.
40) To avoid damage to the soils by handling in inappropriate conditions.
41) To retain the scarce soil resource on the site for use in the restoration.
42) To prevent the importation of fill materials, and control the importation of soils and soil ameliorants to minimise the use of local roads and in the interests of pollution control.
43 - 47) To facilitate the comprehensive restoration, drainage and landscaping of the site, and provision for wildlife, including the establishment of suitable restoration levels and the proper use and treatment of available soils and soil making materials, in accordance with approved details.
48) To ensure the agricultural, amenity woodland and nature conservation aftercare of the reinstated land to the required standard in accordance with approved schemes and annual programmes.
49) To monitor aftercare performance.
50) To assess the condition of the land and aftercare required for each year, including progress with the establishment of the planting and wildlife habitats.
51) To ensure the successful establishment of the landscaping scheme.
Reasons for the Grant of Planning Permission
The planning policies relevant to the grant of planning permission are in the development plan, that is, the Derby and Derbyshire Joint Structure Plan, the Derby and Derbyshire Minerals Local Plan (MLP) and the Bolsover District Local Plan. The principal policy that is relevant to the proposals is Minerals
Local Plan Policy MP27: Coal Extraction and Colliery Spoil Disposal which states (at ‘A’) that:
“A. Proposals for coal extraction, and for the disposal of colliery waste, including extensions to existing sites either in area or depth, will not be permitted unless the impact on the environment:
1) is acceptable, or capable of being made acceptable by planning conditions or obligations, or
2) if not, the impact is clearly outweighed by local or community benefits that the development would provide.”
For the test (1) the environmental aspects of the proposals have been weighed against development plan criteria, especially MLP Policies MP1, MP3 and MP4, BLP Policy GEN2 and guidance in MPS2 ‘Controlling and Mitigating the Environmental Effects of Minerals Extraction in England ’ which state the principles to be followed, and the other policies specified below. In this case, there would be no significant impacts (including cumulative impacts) upon the local communities or on the environment or other impacts such as to warrant refusal of the application within the context of the development plan.
In reaching this conclusion account has been taken of the location and existing use of the site, the ambient environment including the proximity of the motorway and mineral railway, the location of housing, the small scale, short duration and geographical containment of the proposal, the use of rail instead of road, controls available to mitigate the likely environmental effects to acceptable levels, and the additional criteria mentioned below.
Additional tests in considering whether a proposal is environmentally acceptable or capable of being made so are embodied in Part ‘B’ of Policy MP27 which requires specific criteria to be taken into account where relevant:
• The first examines whether a site, if in the Green Belt, can be developed, operated and restored to the highest standards; in this case the site is not in the Green Belt and the criterion is not relevant.
• The second refers to the extent to which the proposal would adversely affect efforts to attract or retain investment in an area, which is not a factor in this case since there would be minimal impact and a greenfield restoration would help in the environmental regeneration necessary to attract investment.
The historical, long term, cumulative and successive impacts on the local communities of coal mining operations in the general area have been followed in recent years by relatively limited activity. It would be inappropriate to
reintroduce large scale opencast coal operations into this area unless significant long term overriding community and environmental benefits would result. However, in contrast, the introduction of this relatively minor coal recovery operation with minimal adverse effects over a short period of time with the benefit of securing early withdrawal of coal stocking activities and restoration of the site to benefit wildlife and the rural environment would contribute to the ongoing regeneration of the locality; any impacts are capable of being made acceptable and this is achievable through the conditions imposed on this permission.
Part ‘C’ of Policy MP27 (test 2) applies only where a proposal has failed the test imposed by Part ‘A’ (test 1) and requires an assessment of any local or community benefits sufficient to outweigh unacceptable adverse environmental impact. In this case because the proposed development satisfies test (1) it is not necessary to weigh it against test (2); however, the Mineral Planning Authority in granting this permission has taken into consideration the benefit proposed in the application of bringing forward, and improving the requirement for, the restoration of this part of the Oxcroft Coal Disposal Point to secure early enhancement of the landscape and biodiversity, and with reference to criteria in Part ‘C’, considers this is unlikely to be achieved by other means.
In accordance with Policy MP27 therefore, the Council considers that planning permission should be granted because the development is, subject to the planning conditions imposed, environmentally acceptable, and the early reclamation of the site would benefit the local environment. There are no other material considerations that indicate a contrary decision.
1) Species Rich Grassland Advised Seed Mix: With reference to Condition 43 the applicant is advised that the seed mix specified in paragraph 3.4.2 (page 6) of the submitted supporting statement should be reduced to only include the following species:
Red fescue Festuca rubra
Chewings fescue Festuca rubra spp. Commutate
Birdsfoot trefoil Lotus coniculata
Tormentil Potentialla erecta
Yarrow Achilea milefolium
Sheeps sorrel Rumex acetosa
2) Definitive Public Right of Way Footpaths: The alignment of Public Footpath 55 (Bolsover) to the east of the application site is shown on the attached 1:5000 scale plan. The applicant is advised that the County Council is keen to secure the reinstatement of this Footpath as soon as possible. The Footpath does not have to be restored along the exact original route as it is
recognised that this may no longer be practicable. The County Council would also welcome the creation of a route to link Footpath 55 with Footpath 23 (Bolsover) (also shown on the plan). The co-operation of the applicant in helping to secure these objectives would be appreciated.
3) Central Networks: Important issues are raised by Central Networks regarding the need for safe working in the proximity of the 132kV overhead lines, conductors and towers. The applicant must contact Central Networks (CableSafe Department) to agree safe methods of working of personnel and plant and machinery before any works are carried out. The applicant must comply fully with the requirements for liaison, safe working, restoration and landscaping specified in the attached letters from Central Networks dated 1 February 2006 and 16 October 2006.
4) Network Rail: The proposals include the transportation of the excavated coal from the site by rail via the existing railhead. Any correspondence in relation to this matter should be addressed to The Senior Route Freight Manager, Network Rail, Desk 4, Floor 4A, George Stephenson House, Toft Green, York, Y01 6JT.
5) Environment Agency Comments
a) If inert waste materials are to be imported for restoration works, then this may need registering with the Environment Agency before restoration commences.
b) All surface drainage from this development shall be drained to the watercourse via the existing consented outfall.
Development Plan Policies
1. Planning policies relevant to the grant of planning permission are:
In the Derby and Derbyshire Minerals Local Plan (2000 Incorporating First Alteration 2002):
• Policies: MP1: The Environmental Impact of Mineral Working, MP3: Measures to Reduce Environmental Impact, MP4: Interests of Acknowledged Environmental Importance, MP5: Transport, MP6: Nature Conservation Mitigation Measures, MP8: Planning Conditions, MP10: Reclamation and Afteruse, MP12: Mineral Related Development and the key policy MP27 (Coal Extraction and Colliery Spoil Disposal).
In the Derby and Derbyshire Joint Structure Plan (2001):
• General Development Strategy Policies 1: Sustainable Development and 2: Scale and Nature of Development.
• Environment Policies: 1: Landscape Character, 4: Environmental Priority Areas, 5: Derelict Land Reclamation, 6: Water Resources, 7: Contaminated Ground, 14: Sites and Features of Nature Conservation Importance, 15: Habitats, and 16: Trees and Woodland.
• Minerals Policies: 1: Safeguarding the Environment, 3: Conditions and 6: Opencast Coal.
• Transport Policies: 4: Land Use and Transport and 7: Freight.
• Leisure and Tourism Policy 3: Provision of Specific Recreation Facilities.
In the Bolsover District Local Plan:
• Themes and General Principles Policy GEN2: Impact of Development on the Environment and GEN5: Land Drainage.
• Transport Policies TRA2: Protection of Rail Routes, TRA4: Protection of Existing Railway Sidings and TRA6: Potential Rail Freight Facilities.
• Countryside and the Natural Environment Policies ENV3: Development in the Countryside, ENV5: Nature Conservation Interests throughout the District, ENV8: Development Affecting Trees and Hedgerows, ENV9: New Trees on Development Sites and ENV11: Reclamation of Derelict Land.
2. National Guidelines and Policy: The relevant national guidelines and policies are in Minerals Planning Statement (MPS) 1: Planning and Minerals, MPS2: Controlling and Mitigating the Environmental Effects of Minerals Extraction in England; Minerals Planning Guidance (MPG) Note 2: Applications, Permissions and Conditions, MPG3: Coal Mining and Colliery Spoil Disposal, MPG7: The Reclamation of Mineral Workings, MPG11: The Control of Noise at Surface Mineral Workings; Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 1: Delivering Sustainable Development, PPS7: Sustainable Development in Rural Areas, PPS9: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation and PPS23: Planning and Pollution Control; Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) Note 13: Highway Considerations in Development Control, and PPG24: Planning and Noise.
1 February 2007
If I go into the history of this place I will not stop ! so on with the pic's