Conwy Local Development Plan 2007 - 2022

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4.9 MINERALS AND WASTE STRATEGY

4.9.1 Spatial Objectives

SO14, SO15.

4.9.2 Minerals and Waste Strategic Statement

4.9.2.1 The Council recognises that a strategic approach is needed to ensure the long-term supply of aggregates. The North Wales Regional Technical Statement (NWRTS), (2009) has been used to guide the LDP on such matters, and this document concludes that there is no need to allocate land for hard rock in Conwy at present, unless there are specific technical or environmental circumstances that would justify an allocation. The Council considers that there are no circumstances that would justify an allocation in the Plan Area. As well as existing hard rock quarries, the LDP safeguards significant additional hard rock resources, as well as sand and gravel resources.


4.9.2.2 Buffer zones around quarries are proposed to protect the amenity of residents and other sensitive land users, and to ensure that mineral operators can carry out their normal activities without being constrained by the undue presence of sensitive land users.


4.9.2.3 There are many drivers for change in terms of how we better manage our waste. These include European Directives and National Guidance, and also regional-level working to bring about a step-change in the management of waste. Additionally, advances in technology and the introduction of policies and practices mean that many modern waste management facilities on the outside look no different to any other industrial building, and undertake industrial processes or energy generation activities that are no different to many other modern industrial processes in terms of their operation or impact.


4.9.2.4 The task of the local planning authority is to ensure that a sufficient amount of land within suitable locations is available for both regional facilities (where necessary) and local facilities. Site proposals should not adversely affect the integrity of European sites or be in conflict with other Plan policies. Waste facilities should, as outlined in the Wales Spatial Plan and Technical Advice Note (TAN) 21 – ‘Waste’, follow the proximity principle (i.e. the location of the facility should be as close to the waste source as possible). The outcome of the North Wales Residual Waste Treatment Project will also play a part in determining the location and type of technology at a regional level, through the procurement of treatment capacity to deal with residual municipal waste arising in the five partner authorities.
 

STRATEGIC POLICY MWS/1 – MINERALS AND WASTE

The Council will ensure that there is sufficient provision of mineral resources and waste management facilities, while safeguarding the natural and built environment by:

  1. Safeguarding permitted reserves of hard rock at Penmaenmawr, Raynes (Llysfaen), Llanddulas and St George and additional resources of hard rock as identified on the proposals map in line with Policies MWS/2 – ‘Minerals’ and MWS/3 – ‘Safeguarding Hard Rock and Sand and Gravel Resources’;
  2. Allowing future extraction of aggregate minerals only where there is a need to maintain stocks of permitted reserves in line with Policy MWS/2;
  3. Designating buffer zones around quarries to protect amenity and ensuring that mineral operations are not unduly constrained by other land users in line with Policy MWS/4 – ‘Quarry Buffer Zones’;
  4. Safeguarding sand and gravel resources as identified on the proposals map in line with Policy MWS/3;
  5. Identifying Llanddulas and Gofer (shown on the Key Diagram) as locations for waste management facilities in line with Policy MWS/6 – ‘Locations for Waste Management Facilities’;
  6. Considering the suitability of existing industrial land and/or land safeguarded for railfreight to accommodate new waste management facilities which are complementary to neighbouring uses in line with Policy MWS/7 – ‘Use of Industrial Land for Waste Management Facilities’, STR/6 –‘Railfreight’ and EMP/3 – ‘New B1, B2 & B8 Office and Industrial Development on Non-Allocated Sites’;
  7. Meeting future additional need for new waste management facilities in line with Policy MWS/5 – ‘Proposals for Waste Management’;
  8. Designating a landfill buffer zone around Llanddulas landfill site to ensure that only appropriate development in this location is permitted in line with Policy MWS/8 – ‘Landfill Buffer Zone’.

4.9.3 Minerals

Policy MWS/2 – MINERALS

  1. The existing quarries at Penmaenmawr, Raynes (Llysfaen) and St George will provide the County’s contribution to the regional supply of hard rock.
  2. Applications for future extraction of aggregate minerals in other locations including extensions to existing quarries, within the Plan Area will only be permitted where there is a need to maintain stocks of permitted reserves having regard to the North Wales Regional Aggregates Working Party figures, or, where no figure exists, the demonstrated need of the industry concerned.


4.9.3.1 National policy is provided by Mineral Planning Policy Wales (MPPW) and Minerals Technical Advice Note 1: Aggregates (MTAN1). The NWRTS give guidance for LDPs on the long-term supply of aggregates.


4.9.3.2 Conwy has three active quarries, all of which produce construction materials (known as ‘aggregates’). Penmaenmawr Quarry produces igneous rock, which is particularly suitable as railway ballast and for other uses. Raynes Quarry near Llysfaen and St George Quarry near Abergele both produce limestone, which is used, for example, in manufacturing concrete. Both Raynes and St George Quarry are physically constrained with regards to further physical extensions, however all three quarries have planning permissions which extend beyond the Plan period.


4.9.3.3 In addition to the active quarries, Llanddulas Quarry contains resources of high-quality limestone. Most of the quarry is occupied by a landfill site, whilst a legal agreement prohibits quarrying for general aggregate use.


4.9.3.4 The NWRTS states that there is no need to allocate land for hard rock in Conwy at present, unless there are specific technical or environmental circumstances that would justify an allocation. The Council considers that there is currently no justification for an allocation in the Plan Area. However, to allow a degree of flexibility for any potential change in circumstances over the Plan period, future extraction of aggregate resources may be permitted where there is a need to maintain permitted reserves. This will be assessed against figures from the North Wales Regional Aggregates Working Party and both MPPW and MTAN1. It is acknowledged that in some instances figures may not exist; therefore, proposals should have regard to the demonstrated need of the industry concerned.


4.9.3.5 There are deposits of sandstone with potential for use as high PSV (Polished Stone Value) roadstone in the Plan Area. To date, there has been no pressure to extract this material in the Plan Area and MTAN1 identifies South Wales as one of the main prospects for extraction. No allocation is therefore made in the LDP, however, proposals for the extraction of this material may be justified where the proposal is intended to meet a particular high specification not currently met in the Plan Area.


4.9.3.6 MPPW supports the development of borrow pits, which serve specific construction projects, in appropriate locations. It also recognises the need for small scale quarries to provide locally distinctive dimension stone, where these would retain the character of the local built environment. Borrow pits and small dimension stone quarries therefore fall outside the scope of Policy MWS/2.


4.9.3.7 MTAN1 also contains guidance on addressing specific impacts such as noise, dust and blasting, restoration and the use of secondary materials, such as demolition waste.


4.9.3.8 MTAN1 also requires planning authorities to assess and review the likelihood of future extraction from long inactive sites that have not been worked for 10 years. There are currently no sites with permitted reserves in Conwy that have been inactive for this period. In the event that the period of inactivity on a site exceeds 10 years, and the planning authority considers that further working is unlikely, it will consider serving a prohibition order. The purpose of a prohibition order is to establish without doubt that mineral development has ceased and cannot resume without the fresh grant of planning permission, and to secure the restoration of the land.

4.9.4 Safeguarding Hard Rock and Sand and Gravel Resources

Policy MWS/3 – SAFEGUARDING HARD ROCK AND SAND AND GRAVEL RESOURCES

  1. The following resources and related facilities are included within the Safeguarded Hard Rock or Sand and Gravel designation:
  1. The permitted reserves at Penmaenmawr Quarry, including processing areas, railhead and conveyor link;
  2. The permitted reserves at Raynes Quarry, including processing areas and the areas occupied by the jetty and conveyor link;
  3. The permitted reserves at Llanddulas Quarry (outside the area of the landfill site), including the areas occupied by the former jetty and former conveyor link;
  4. The permitted reserves at St George Quarry, including processing areas;
  5. Additional hard rock as identified on the Proposals Map;
  6. Sand and Gravel resources as identified on the Proposals Map.
  1. Planning permission will not be granted for any development within the Safeguarded Hard Rock or Sand and Gravel designation which could directly or indirectly harm the long-term viability of working those resources unless:
  1. It can be demonstrated that the need for development outweighs the need to protect the mineral resource or;
  2. Where such development would not have a significant impact on the viability of the mineral being worked or;
  3. Where the mineral is extracted prior to the development.
  1. In cases where the quality and depth of safeguarded hard rock or sand and gravel resources has not been proven, other forms of development may be consistent with the safeguarding approach provided that the applicant submits evidence, such as borehole samples, demonstrating that no commercially viable hard rock or sand and gravel resources would be affected.


4.9.4.1 The NWRTS recommends a specific safeguarding policy for Conwy. This policy implements that recommendation, and safeguards identified mineral resources and related transport and processing facilities to ensure that they remain available. Sand and gravel is not currently produced within the Plan Area; however, data from the British Geological Survey has identified resources in various locations across the Plan Area. Background Paper 29 – ‘Safeguarding Aggregate Resources’ provides a full justification for the safeguarding approach. It is stressed that this policy does not establish a presumption in favour of granting planning permission, instead that the presence of the mineral is considered when assessing whether alternative development can take place.


4.9.4.2 Some types of development would have a nil or negligible impact on the safeguarded resource, either because they relate to a time-limited temporary use, or as they involve a relatively low degree of capital investment (such as farm tracks), or because existing development in the same location presents an equivalent or greater constraint upon the potential for mineral working. These include:

  1. householder development incidental to the enjoyment of an existing dwellinghouse;
  2. infill housing development between existing dwellings;
  3. replacement dwellings, where the existing dwelling retains a residential use right;
  4. new agricultural buildings (including slurry pits etc) and extensions to existing agricultural buildings within an existing farmyard, or where a new agricultural building would replace an existing agricultural building on the same site;
  5. agricultural access tracks;
  6. proposals for the temporary use of land (e.g. caravan sites, composting facilities), where a condition imposes a specific end-date on that use, and where any related operational development is to be removed upon the cessation of that use.


4.9.4.3 Since geological and geomorphologic mapping is not an exact science, the Proposals Map does not identify a separate buffer zone around the Sand and Gravel Safeguarding designation or around the resources in the Safeguarded Hard Rock designation that do not have a current planning permission for mineral working.

4.9.5 Quarry Buffer Zones

Policy MWS/4 – QUARRY BUFFER ZONES

There will be a presumption against inappropriate development within the quarry buffer zones.


4.9.5.1 Buffer zones serve two purposes. One is to protect the amenity of residents and other sensitive land users; the other is to ensure that mineral operators can carry out their normal activities without being constrained by the undue presence of sensitive land users. In this policy, ‘inappropriate development’ includes mineral working (within the buffer zone) and land uses that could be affected (this includes all applications for residential (except householder), employment and tourism development and community facilities). Applications for these types of development in these buffer zones should be brought to the attention of the Council’s Environmental Health Officer, Natural Resources Wales and the quarry operators. Proposals which would result in significant detriment to amenity or safety, or which would unacceptably restrict the operation of a quarry site, will be refused. In the case of hard rock, MTAN1 recommends that Buffer Zones should normally be 200m around each active area; for sand and gravel, the recommended distance is 100m. In Conwy, it is not always possible to achieve these distances due to the proximity of existing settlement boundaries. The extent of the Buffer Zones around permitted reserves is shown on the Proposals Map.

4.9.6 Proposals for Waste Management

Policy MWS/5 – PROPOSALS FOR WASTE MANAGEMENT

Development proposals for the management of waste, including alterations and extensions to existing facilities, will only be permitted where:

  1. The proposal meets a need identified in the North Wales Regional Waste Plan, or need arising at a local level;
  2. The need cannot be met through other existing or approved waste management facilities or the proposed activity is unsuitable at those locations;
  3. Where possible, the proposal recovers value from the waste;
  4. The proposal accords with Strategic Policies NTE/1 – ‘The Natural Environment’ and CTH/1 – ‘Cultural Heritage’ and the Development Principles.

4.9.7 Locations for Waste Management Facilities

Policy MWS/6 – LOCATIONS FOR WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITIES

  1. The Plan identifies and protects the following sites for waste management facilities as shown on the Proposals Map:
  1. Llanddulas Quarry (north of the existing landfill site)
  2. Gofer, Rhuddlan Road, Abergele
  1. Subject to detailed assessment, the following operations may be suitable at these locations:
  1. Materials Recycling
  2. Waste Transfer Station
  3. Recyclate Processing
  4. Anaerobic Digestion
  5. In-vessel composting
  6. Household waste recycling centre
  7. Mechanical Biological Treatment
  8. Energy recovery

However, the list is not exhaustive and other proposals for the management of waste will be considered on their merits in accordance with the criteria in Policy MWS/5.


4.9.7.1 The North Wales Regional Waste Plan 1st Review (2009) recommends that 17.4 hectares of land should be identified in Conwy for the provision of waste management facilities. A total of 22 hectares of land has been allocated in Conwy (see BP/20 – ‘Waste Management’). The take up of land will be monitored in line with Policy MWS/5 in terms of addressing need for such facilities.


4.9.7.2 Llanddulas Quarry is centrally located within Conwy and the North Wales Region. The existing landfill site is one of the largest and most strategically located waste management facilities in North Wales, adjacent to the A547, with good access to the principal trunk road (A55). The main quarry already benefits from planning permission for landfill and composting.


4.9.7.3 The private owners of the current waste management operations at Llanddulas have suggested a number of possible future waste management facilities at this location, including an integrated waste management facility which could include a variety of technology and treatment methods such as composting, materials recycling or waste transfer.


4.9.7.4 Gofer is the location of a previous landfill site but presently hosts a bulking station, transfer station and civic amenity facility. The area is located directly off the A547, and has good access to the A55. The Natural Resources Wales flood maps indicate that the site is not at risk of flooding (see also BP/17 – ‘Conwy Strategic Flood Consequence Assessment’). The full rationale for the selection of Llanddulas and Gofer as strategic locations for waste management can be found within BP/20.


4.9.7.5 The list of waste management facilities in Policy MWS/6 should not be taken as a definitive list and proposals for waste management facilities will be subject to detailed assessment to determine their suitability as per Policy MWS/5. Such facilities may also require Environmental Permits issued by Natural Resources Wales.


4.9.7.6 The Council commissioned consultants to undertake a search for sites that would be suitable for landfill or land-raising (see BP/26 Landfill Feasibility Study). The Plan Area is particularly constrained from highways access, landscape, flood risk and groundwater perspectives and no suitable sites were identified for landfill or land-raising by the study. The Council has therefore not allocated a site for landfill. Any proposals that may come forward for landfill will be assessed on a case by case basis.

4.9.8 Use of Industrial Land for Waste Management Facilities

Policy MWS/7 – USE OF INDUSTRIAL LAND FOR WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITIES

  1. Proposals for waste management facilities will generally be permitted on existing industrial sites and on sites safeguarded under Policy STR/6.
  2. Where existing industrial sites are unavailable, proposals for waste management may be permitted outside development boundaries in line with Policy EMP/3 – 'New B1, B2 and B8 Office and Industrial Development on Non Allocated Sites’.
  3. In exceptional circumstances, where it can be demonstrated that a proposal has specific technical or spatial requirements which conflict with the requirements of Policy EMP/3, proposals for waste management facilities outside settlement boundaries which do not accord with Policy EMP/3 may be permitted.


4.9.8.1 The North Wales Regional Waste Plan 1st Review recommends that each Local Planning Authority assesses available industrial land for suitability for waste management operations. Proposals for waste management facilities at such locations will be considered on their individual merits. A need has been established for 14.4 hectares of B2 land requirements over the Plan period of which a high level is committed.


4.9.8.2 There are other sites in the Plan Area that may be suitable for waste management uses, including land safeguarded for Rail Freight at Llandudno Junction. This site has potential to host waste management facilities such as waste transfer. Policy STR/6 and its supporting text encourage complimentary uses such as road to rail waste transfer.


4.9.8.3 Not all waste management facilities will be suitable on industrial sites in the Plan Area, whether due to their spatial requirements, the potential impacts on neighbouring uses or technical requirements. For example, landfill, open windrow composting and anaerobic digestion may be more appropriate outside of the settlements, as part of farm diversification. The policy therefore permits, in exceptional circumstances, proposals for waste management facilities outside the settlement boundaries. Such proposals will be rigorously tested to make sure it is necessary to locate them outside development boundaries, having followed the sequential approach outlined in the above policy. It should be demonstrated that there is a need for the proposal in line with Policy MWS/5 and no suitable alternative sites are available. The policy gives flexibility to deal with such schemes on their individual merits.

4.9.9 Landfill Buffer Zone

Policy MWS/8 – LANDFILL BUFFER ZONE

There will be a presumption against inappropriate development within the landfill buffer zone.


4.9.9.1 Natural Resources Wales generally advises that development should be a minimum of 250 metresaway from landfill sites.The greatest danger to development near to landfill sites is that of migrating landfill gas travelling through the underlying rock and entering premises from underground. Problems also do arise from time to time in respect of odour, dust, noise and pests. The landfill buffer zone is a separate designation to the landfill site and it serves two purposes. One is to protect the amenity of residents and other sensitive land users (consequently, no additional landfilling is permitted within the buffer zone); the other is to ensure that the landfill operators can carry out their normal activities without being constrained by the undue presence of sensitive land users. A 250 metre buffer zone around the landfill site has therefore been designated to ensure that appropriate development only is located in this area. All applications for residential (except householder), employment, tourism development and community facilities within the buffer zone should be brought to the attention of the Council’s Environmental Health Officer and Natural Resources Wales. Proposals which would result in significant detriment to amenity or safety, or which would unacceptably restrict the operation of the landfill site will be refused.

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