9. Planning for minerals


9.1 The council is the minerals planning authority (MPA) for South Gloucestershire and, as such, is responsible for planning for the extraction and safeguarding of mineral resources in our area.

9.2 Ensuring that there is a sufficient supply of minerals to provide the infrastructure, buildings, energy and goods that the country needs is a key objective of our new Local Plan.

9.3 South Gloucestershire primarily contributes to minerals supply by the winning and working of carboniferous limestone, producing aggregate (crushed rock). The aggregate is mainly used for building and repairing roads and producing asphalt, concrete and concrete products. To a lesser extent, South Gloucestershire also produces brick making clay, and historically other minerals have also been worked in the area.

Local Plan 2020: Phase 1 – Issues and Approaches consultation document (Nov 2020 to March 2021)

9.4 Through Phase 1 we highlighted the important contribution that the aggregate mineral resources that exist in our area play in the economic, environmental and infrastructure goals for South Gloucestershire.

9.5 In doing so we also highlighted that, as minerals are a diminishing, finite, and often constrained resource that can only be worked where they are found, it is important that through the new Local Plan we plan to maintain a steady and adequate supply. As part of this, it is important that we ensure that minerals are extracted in a sustainable way and restoration of former mineral extraction areas within South Gloucestershire is progressed over the coming years.

9.6 With this in mind, we set out a need for us to progress a new strategic policy to guide the working/ extraction of minerals in South Gloucestershire and subsequent restoration of quarries where extraction has been completed. This new policy and approach will, upon adoption, replace existing policies CS10 and PSP23.

Minerals extraction in South Gloucestershire

9.7 Currently there are 3 active quarries in South Gloucestershire, run by 2 operators. These are:

  • Chipping Sodbury Quarry
  • Tytherington Quarry
  • Wickwar Quarry

9.8 National planning guidance states that mineral planning authorities are expected to prepare a Local Aggregate Assessment (LAA) annually to assess the demand for and supply of aggregates in their area.

9.9 Locally, the LAA is produced through working with our West of England unitary authority partners, each of which are the MPA for their respective areas.

9.10 The LAA includes a forecast of the demand for aggregates based on both the rolling average of 10 years sales data and other relevant local information, including information regarding landbanks of aggregate minerals reserves, which are used principally as an indicator of the security of aggregate minerals supply, and to indicate the additional provision that needs to be made through Local Plans.

9.11 The latest West of England (WoE) Local Aggregates Assessment (for 2012-2021) identifies a 10-year average for sales of crushed rock in the WoE of 3.72 million tonnes per annum (mtpa).

9.12 Total permitted reserves in WoE at the end of 2021 were 108.77mt giving a landbank of over 29 years based on the average annual production over the 10-year period 2012– 2021 (3.72mt)1. However, this does not take account of factors which could affect the deliverability of the reserves permitted at present.

9.13 Based on a long-standing agreement, the required crushed rock provision for the WoE is split 60%/40% between South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. On this basis, given the 10-year average in the emerging WoE LAA for 2012-2021 of 3.72mtpa, the annualised required level of crushed rock provision for South Gloucestershire can be calculated as 60% of 3.72mtpa, which is 2.32mtpa. If this was to be extrapolated, the total crushed rock requirement for South Gloucestershire for 2022-2040 inclusive (18 years) would be 40.18mt. To allow for a 10-year landbank at the end of that period, a further 10-years requirement can be added on (23.2mt), so, on that basis, the total South Gloucestershire crushed rock requirement for that 28-year period (to 2050) would be 63.38mt. This figure is based on the 10-year sales average in the latest published LAA (covering the period 2012-2021). Future LAAs are likely to give different 10-year averages, and hence different figures. Therefore, it is simpler and more meaningful to aim to maintain a 10-year landbank (with the landbank to be measured annually and based on 60% of the 10-year average sales figure in the latest LAA), in line with national planning practice guidance.

9.14 Mineral extraction operations at our existing active quarries are nearing the end of the working currently permitted. We also know that there are significant reserves within Cromhall Quarry which, although not currently active, also potentially has a role to play going forward.

9.15 It is important therefore that, in preparing our Local Plan, we take account of such factors and the need for appropriate policies and allocations to help ensure a steady and adequate supply of aggregates, as is required by national planning policy.

Existing supply

9.16 As set out above, while we have significant permitted reserves landbank to demonstrate a theoretical landbank which extends beyond the plan period (2025-2040), this does not take into account factors which could affect their deliverability. To better understand this, we have engaged with relevant operators and landowners and undertaken analysis of extraction rates, and our understanding is that the remaining permitted reserves at each of the active quarries will be totally worked out between 2032 and 2040.

9.17 With this in mind, through our Local Plan we need to consider how we can make additional reserves available.

What we are seeking your views on now

9.18 At this stage we want to test our emerging approach to minerals, mineral working and quarry restoration and seeking your views on:

  • a draft high level strategic policy
  • preferred areas/ areas of search for future mineral working
  • Cromhall Quarry
  • Tytherington Quarry southwest extension
  • Wickwar Quarry northwest extension

A draft high level strategic policy

9.19 In line with national policy, this strategic policy aims sets out the council’s commitment to maintaining a year landbank for crushed rock of at least 10-years. The position regarding landbanks can be monitored annually, using the 10-year sales average, as reported through the latest Local Aggregates Assessment. It also sets out the environmental considerations that will need to be taken into account for proposals for new extraction, and the council’s expectations for the restoration of quarries once they have ceased extraction operations. Find out more and submit your comments.

9.20 If, through annual monitoring, it appears that the 10-year landbank might not be maintained, it may be necessary to revisit the issue of permitting further reserves. If levels of crushed rock production in WoE rise consistently each year in the future, the rolling 10-year sales average will tend to rise each year too, which, with diminishing permitted reserves, will tend to reduce South Gloucestershire’s landbanks.

9.21 In addition to this policy, it is proposed that Policies, Sites and Places Plan Policy PSP24 (Mineral Safeguarding Areas) is ‘saved’, in recognition of the importance of avoiding the unnecessary sterilisation of mineral resources in South Gloucestershire. For further information about this and other saved policies, read section 11.

Preferred areas/ areas of search for future mineral working

9.22 National guidance refers to the importance of planning for a sufficient supply of minerals to provide the infrastructure, buildings, energy and goods that the country needs. Mineral planning authorities should plan for the steady and adequate supply of minerals by designation of either Specific Sites, Preferred Areas, or Areas of Search for mineral working.

9.23 From engagement with quarry operators and relevant landowners, a number of areas for future mineral working have been identified and it is likely that any granting of planning permission on those extensions would significantly increase permitted reserves in South Gloucestershire.

9.24 These extensions are proposed to be allocated through the Local Plan as ‘Preferred Areas’ – areas of known resources where planning permission might reasonably be anticipated. The benefit of bringing forward these areas through the Local Plan is the certainty it brings for: South Gloucestershire’s community in terms of what will be delivered and where; quarry operators and landowners to inform their investment plans; and the council in terms of its ability to demonstrate a landbank and plan for a steady and adequate supply of aggregates.

9.25 The preferred areas allocated through the Local Plan contribute to achieving a 10-year landbank for crushed rock. The areas proposed for allocation through the Local Plan are:

Cromhall Quarry

9.26 As set out above, Cromhall Quarry is currently not operational (or ‘mothballed’) but the Tortworth Estate, who own the quarry, have indicated they intend to recommence working of the permitted reserves contained there, to bolster supply to the local mineral market.

You can submit your comments through our interactive map.

9.27 The map above indicates the area that is being promoted through the Local Plan, which includes an identified resource of circa 18mt. As it stands, the intention is that output will be on a relatively small scale, initially with a saleable output of circa 0.25mt per annum, although we understand there is potential for this to be scaled up mid-way through the Plan period if required.

9.28 Future working and restoration should provide for appropriate enhancement and connectivity to the GI network and specifically Corridor B, for woodlands, wetland or grasslands as appropriate and in response to nearby green and blue assets. Future development should refer to detailed Green Infrastructure Audit report as to nature of GI in this area of the network.

Tytherington Quarry southwest extension

9.29 Tytherington Quarry, which is operated by Heidelberg Materials (formerly known as Hanson), reopened and recommenced extraction in 2018 following its mothballing in 2012. It benefits from a railhead, facilitating the distribution of approximately 75% of the aggregate produced by rail.

9.30 Through the Policies, Sites and Places (PSP) Plan, a relatively modest preferred area for future working was allocated. Through engagement with Heidelberg Materials, who operate Tytherington Quarry, they have indicated they consider that employing a longer-term strategic approach will help to provide maximum opportunities and overall mitigation for the long-term future of the site and most importantly its interaction/integration with the community and environment. In doing so, it will also provide a greater level of certainty both in terms of a landbank for South Gloucestershire and for Heidelberg’s continuing investment in the site and its environs.

You can submit your comments through our interactive map.

9.31 The map above indicates the area that is being promoted through the Local Plan, as three extensions to the existing quarry. The first of which is an area previously allocated (through the Policies, Sites and Places (PSP) Plan), which is includes the potential for extraction of an identified resource of 6mt to be worked in the short to medium term.

9.32 The second proposed extension includes an area previously allocated (through the Policies, Sites and Places (PSP) Plan), which includes the potential for the extraction of a further 20mt in the medium to long term. Through working this area, it is anticipated that a utilities and public rights of way corridor can be created, and Itchington Road will be retained.

9.33 The third extension proposed is beyond any areas allocated through previous Local Plans and is estimated to contain over 50mt of resource. It is anticipated that this area is likely to be realised in the long term, and beyond this plan period. Taken together, these extensions will help to ensure a landbank through this Plan period and into the next.

9.34 Though allocating land for these extensions now, we can provide certainty to all stakeholders, including our communities, the operators (to inform their investment in the site and its environs) and the Council (to ensure a sufficient landbank). The phased approach is proposed with a view to minimising the potential impacts at each stage.

9.35 In operational terms, any extension of the Quarry would continue to use the existing processing and access facilities, which includes the rail connection that will continue to be used to transport approximately material from the site.

9.36 The entire area covered by these potential extensions lie within the Green Belt. In accordance with national planning policy (NPPF para 150), mineral extraction is not considered to be inappropriate in the Green Belt provided it preserves its openness and does not conflict with the purposes of including land within it.

9.37 There are a number of important development considerations that will need to be taken into account in the design of detailed proposals to deliver the extension of Tytherington Quarry, in addition to the general policy requirements associated with developments of this type. In this instance, there will be a need for Heidelberg to consider, as a minimum, the:

  • future of Itchington Road which runs along the southern boundary of the current extraction area and the northern boundary of the proposed extension area
  • need to reposition the National Grid overhead lines and pylons which cross the site
  • need to ensure future development and restoration maintains and enhances connectivity of GI Corridor B, in particular east west connectivity for biodiversity and take opportunities to extend and enhance habitat, landscape and active travel (including public rights of way) connections south of the existing corridor as the proposed quarry area is worked out and in future ameliorated
  • need to ensure the connectivity and quality of the rights of way network, including the Jubilee Way which links the Severn Way and the Cotswold Way
  • need to understand the site’s archaeological potential

Wickwar Quarry northwest extension

9.38 Wickwar Quarry is operated by Breedon, who lease the land from the Tortworth Estate.

You can submit your comments through our interactive map.

9.39 The map above indicates the area that is being promoted through the Local Plan, by the Tortworth Estate, who intend to work the reserves this extension will facilitate, with an identified resource of circa 35-40mt. As it stands, the intention is that, following allocation through the Local Plan, planning permission will be secured by 2033. This would facilitate the continuity of a supply of up to 1.2mt per annum into the nearby markets.

9.40 There are a number of important development considerations that will need to be taken into account in the design of detailed proposals to deliver the extension of Wickwar Quarry, in addition to the general policy requirements associated with developments of this type. In this instance, there will be a need for Breedon to consider, as a minimum, the:

  • relocation of the B4509 Downs Road
  • relocation of a high-pressure gas main, and
  • need for future working and restoration to take opportunities to connect into and enhance the existing Strategic Green Infrastructure Network Corridor B. Future development should refer to detailed Green Infrastructure Audit report as to nature of GI in this area of the network

General considerations

9.41 If, through annual monitoring, it appears that the 10-year landbank might not be maintained, it may be necessary to revisit the issue of permitting further reserves.

9.42 Beyond the areas referred to above, the extraction of crushed rock will only be acceptable where it relates to minor boundary adjustments at existing quarries, where this would prevent mineral sterilisation.

9.43 To be clear, however, the inclusion of these areas in the Local Plan does not guarantee that planning permission will be granted. Future applications in relation to development of the proposed areas will be subject to compliance with relevant local planning policy and the consideration of other material issues at such point as an application is submitted to the council.

9.44 As a matter of course, development proposals for new mineral workings will need to demonstrate that permitted operations will not have unacceptable adverse impacts on the natural and historic environment, human health, or local amenity. The council will consider the use of masterplans (or similar) to ensure that any development is brought forward in a planned, structured and holistic way and to ensure benefits are maximised.

9.45 Allied to this, the council will normally require mineral working and restoration to be carried out in phases, with a view to minimising potential impacts arising from the proposed development.

Restoration and aftercare

9.46 Restoration and aftercare proposals for a mineral working site will be conditioned as part of planning permission. Schemes for restoration and aftercare should be in place prior to any approval of permission for mineral workings and should be reviewed prior to works commencing, to take account of changing local circumstances and environmental needs. The council requires that all quarry sites are subject to restoration. As part of this, we will with work with landowners and quarry operators to understand what opportunities exist in terms of uses post-quarrying, which contribute to the council’s wider environmental objectives.

9.47 Where additional landfilling and/or the importation of waste is required, this would normally require separate permission, the timescales of which would be addressed as part of the determination of such an application.

Recycled aggregates

9.48 National planning policy advocates taking account of recycled materials ‘so far as practicable’. Some aggregate is produced in South Gloucestershire from recycling of construction, demolition and excavation waste. However, it is difficult to obtain comprehensive reliable data, and the quantity of recycled aggregate produced from known sources is relatively low. Notwithstanding this, the council will seek to encourage the provision of recycled aggregate as part of planning for a steady and adequate supply of aggregates.


Do you have any comments on sites proposed for minerals allocation?

Please submit your comments through our interactive map.

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