Cabinet discusses county minerals policy
Gloucestershire County Council is taking a step closer towards adopting its new Minerals Local Plan for 2018-2032.
Next week, cabinet will be asked to agree to start a public consultation on the full draft of a new minerals plan. Previous consultations have taken place to cover potential sites and policy options but this is the first time people would be asked to comment on the full plan.
The county council is the local Minerals Planning Authority (MPA) and it has a legal duty to prepare a Minerals Local Plan to replace the existing Gloucestershire Minerals Local Plan that was adopted in 2003.
The new Gloucestershire Minerals Local Plan (2018-2032), has to go through several preparation stages before adoption, expected in 2018.
The draft plan will set out the council's policy on mineral extraction - that includes crushed rock limestone and sand and gravel used as aggregates, natural building stone, clay for brick making and civil engineering purposes, and the energy minerals coal and oil and gas.
It will highlight sites where mineral working could be allowed to happen in the future. However, this does not automatically mean these sites will be used.
Importantly, the plan will also set out what the county's policy is with regards to deciding on applications for fracking.
Currently, the council has not received any applications, but the government has granted licenses for fracking in the county so future applications are a real possibility.
As this is still at an early stage, cabinet is being asked to agree a widespread consultation, which will ask what people think about the draft plan.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said: "This is a statutory document that all Minerals Planning Authorities have to produce and this is just one of many stages before the plan is finalised and adopted.
"If cabinet agree, I would encourage as many people as possible to have their say as this blueprint will contain policies that could affect us all.
"Your views are important as they really will help us shape our plan for the future."
If cabinet agrees, consultation will start in late summer and run for eight weeks with dates to be confirmed after cabinet.
Following the consultation, the council will make any necessary amendments and prepare a revised draft for people to review and pass on their comments. This revised draft and any comments received will then be submitted to the Secretary of State for consideration in late 2017.
After this the plan will undergo an independent examination, which will hopefully take place between late 2017 and early 2018. The aim is to have a new adopted plan in place for summer 2018.
To see the full draft Minerals Local Plan (2018-2032) to be considered by cabinet, http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=117&MId=8219&Ver=4