A key aspect of sustainable development is the conservation and safeguarding of non-renewable resources, such as minerals, for future generations. The UK is endowed with a wide range of indigenous minerals but these natural resources are finite. With increased pressure on land-use in the UK, there is a need to ensure that these natural resources are not needlessly sterilised by other development, leaving insufficient supplies for future generations. Safeguarding is the term that encompasses the process necessary to ensure that outcome. Safeguarding will also help ensure that the planning system retains the flexibility to identify sites which have the least impact on the environment.
This good practice advice is designed to complement Minerals Policy Statement 1: Planning and minerals, published in November 2006; this policy introduces an obligation on all Mineral Planning Authorities to define Mineral Safeguarding Areas. Defining Mineral Safeguarding Areas carries no presumption that the resource will be worked. The report provides advice on how current mineral safeguarding policy can be complied with and puts forward a relatively simple step-by-step methodology for delineating Mineral Safeguarding Areas, together with examples of policies through which they would have effect. When linked to appropriate local planning policies, Mineral Safeguarding Areas should ensure that mineral resources are adequately and effectively considered in making land-use planning decisions.
Paul Wilcox and Wayne Allum, representing the Planning Officers Society, provided advice and comments as the report was developed.