Consultation on Policy MCS 10 – Underground Coal Gasification, Warwickshire Minerals Plan 2018

Closed 9 Jul 2019

Opened 28 May 2019

Results Updated 28 Oct 2019

Update on revised Minerals and Waste Development Scheme (MWDS)

The MWDS outlines the programme for reviewing minerals and waste planning policies, including the Minerals Plan. It was updated and agreed by the Council Leader on 13 September 2019. The revised, agreed programme for the Warwickshire Minerals Plan is as follows:

  • Submission of Plan - November 2019
  • Examination in Public - April 2020
  • Inspector's Report - October 2020
  • Plan Adopted - December 2020

Overview

The County Council is consulting on strategic policy MCS 10 - Underground Coal Gasification, which was unintentionally omitted from the public consultation on the countywide Minerals Plan from 31st October 2018 to 12th December 2018.  This is a further consultation and is the final public consultation before the Minerals Plan is submitted to the Secretary of State for examination in public.  The focus is on whether Policy MCS 10 is sound and legally compliant.

What is the Minerals Plan?

Warwickshire County Council is the Mineral Planning Authority for Warwickshire and has a statutory duty to produce the county’s Minerals Plan. The Minerals Plan sets out the spatial strategy, allocated sites, vision, objectives and policies guiding minerals development up to 2032. It also provides the framework for minerals development management including implementation and monitoring.

Government guidance requires that Mineral Planning Authorities should plan for a steady and adequate supply of minerals including the provision of aggregates (sand and gravel and crushed rock). The Minerals Plan is the vehicle which enables this to be implemented through the allocation of minerals sites. This provides certainty to communities as to where mineral development should take place in the county.

However, the Plan will not grant planning permission for minerals development.  Any planning application will need to cover the design, layout, operation of development and mitigation measures based on detailed assessment.  Local communities will be consulted on the planning application prior to determination. 

Further background: Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) and Fracking

Underground Coal Gasification is a separate process to fracking and involves the burning of coal seams underground and using the resulting gas to produce energy. The Coal Authority is responsible for issuing licences granting the right to access the coal, but no UCG operations can take place until the applicant has secured all other necessary rights and permissions. This would include securing the necessary permission from Warwickshire County Council as the Mineral Planning Authority. The Minerals Plan will need to contain a policy to ensure that UCG proposals can be adequately assessed and this will have to accord with national planning policy guidance.

Fracking is a process whereby the rock is fractured by injecting water at high pressure which forces gases through pipes above the surface. The Minerals Plan will look to address the issue through a policy in the plan that has already been consulted on in the 2018 consultation. However, it should be noted that the geology within Warwickshire may not be conducive to enabling fracking as there are no major shale deposits in the County. No operator has expressed any interest in fracking in the County at the current time.

Where are we in the plan-making process?

The Minerals Plan has been developed through an iterative process, subject to previous consultations.  Background information and previous updates on the progression of the Minerals Plan can be found on the Minerals Development Framework Webpage.  

The table below outlines the previous stages subject to consultation:

Regulation Stage Consultation Dates
Regulation 18 Minerals Core Strategy - Revised Spatial Options 19.02.09 - 08.05.09
  Minerals Plan - Preferred Option and Policies. 19.10.15 - 04.01.16
  Focused Consultation  
Regulation 19 Warwickshire Minerals Plan Publication 2016 09.12.16 - 03.02.17
  Warwickshire Minerals Plan Publication 2018 31.10.18 - 12.12.18
  Policy MCS 10 of Warwickshire Minerals Plan Publication 2018 28.05.19 - 09.07.19 (this consultation)

 

What can you comment on?

This consultation is only on Policy MCS 10. You do not need to repeat, and this is not an opportunity to change or add to, any comments made on the remainder of the plan when it was published between October and December 2018.   

The purpose of this consultation is to allow representations to be made on the Minerals Plan 2018 before submission to the Secretary of State and subsequent consideration at an examination in public. Comments made on Policy MCS 10 when it was first published in 2017, and any comments made in consultations before then, will not be considered by the Inspector. 

This consultation is also an opportunity to request involvement in the hearing sessions at the examination in public in relation to Policy MCS 10.

For this consultation, you can respond to the following broad questions:

  • Is the Policy legally compliant?
  • Is the Policy sound?
  • Does it fulfil the requirements of duty to co-operate?

Please read the Guidance Document on the consultation portal for more information on what these mean and what you may wish to consider before making a representation.

Where can you access the consultation documents?

Updates on the progress of the Minerals Plan and a link to the Policy MCS 10 consultation portal containing the consultation documents  are available via the Minerals Development Framework Webpage.  Other Minerals Plan 2018 supporting documents, which relate to the whole of the plan incorporating policy MCS10, can be found at the separate Minerals Plan 2018 consultation portal.  These documents include, amongst others, the Sustainability Appraisal, its Appendices, a Health Impact Assessment, the Statement of Community Involvement and Local Development Scheme. 

Hard copies of the policy, justification text and guidance are available at the following locations:

Warwickshire Direct

Shire Hall, Market Square, Warwick, CV34 4SA

Opening hours: Monday - Thursday: 8.00am - 5.30pm, Friday: 8.00am - 5.00pm, Saturday: 9.00am - 4.00pm

The planning reception desks at:

All Warwickshire Libraries during opening hours.

Opening hours and locations are listed on this website link.

How can you make a representation?

The most efficient way to make a representation is by completing the form online using the Consultation Portal website using the link below.  

Comments can also be made by downloading and completing a form from the Consultation Portal and sending it to:

  • by email to planningstrategy@warwickshire.gov.uk or
  • by post to Planning Policy, Planning Development & Flood Risk Management, Transport and Economy, Communities, Planning Strategy, PO Box 43, Shire Hall, Warwick, CV34 4SX

A copy of the form can also be requested from Planning Policy on 01926 412391 or planningstrategy@warwickshire.gov.uk.

We must receive all responses by 5pm on Tuesday 9th July 2019 to enable us to give them proper consideration.  Comments submitted after that time are unable to be considered.

What is the process following consultation?

The Minerals Plan 2018 including the missing policy is intended to be the final version of the plan before examination in public. The Council cannot make changes to the proposed Plan between the end of Publication Consultation and submission to the Secretary of State. If after the end of Public Consultation the Council believes that changes to the plan are required, it may forward its suggestions along with the submitted plan for consideration by the Inspector at the examination in public. Alternatively, it may decide not to submit the plan and to prepare and consult again on a revised plan.

Once the plan has been submitted, the Secretary of State will then appoint an Inspector to determine by way of examination in public whether or not the Minerals Plan (and any submitted changes to it) is sound and legally compliant. This examination in public is provisionally planned for the end of 2019.  Your representations will be passed to the Inspector.

The examination in public will consider the plan, representations made during this consultation and any proposed changes. The areas that the Inspector will focus on during examination are the soundness of the Minerals Plan and its compliance with legal requirements (including the duty to co-operate).

At the end of the examination process the Inspector will present final conclusions on the plan in a Report. If the plan is found ‘sound’, with any necessary modifications, then it can be adopted by the Council.

What Happens Next

This consultation has now closed. Thank you to everyone who took the time to take part.

What is the process following consultation?

The Minerals Plan 2018 including the missing policy is intended to be the final version of the plan before examination in public. The Council cannot make changes to the proposed Plan between the end of Publication Consultation and submission to the Secretary of State. If after the end of Public Consultation the Council believes that changes to the plan are required, it may forward its suggestions along with the submitted plan for consideration by the Inspector at the examination in public. Alternatively, it may decide not to submit the plan and to prepare and consult again on a revised plan.

Once the plan has been submitted, the Secretary of State will then appoint an Inspector to determine by way of examination in public whether or not the Minerals Plan (and any submitted changes to it) is sound and legally compliant. This examination in public is provisionally planned for the end of 2019.  Your representations will be passed to the Inspector.

The examination in public will consider the plan, representations made during this consultation and any proposed changes. The areas that the Inspector will focus on during examination are the soundness of the Minerals Plan and its compliance with legal requirements (including the duty to co-operate).

At the end of the examination process the Inspector will present final conclusions on the plan in a Report. If the plan is found ‘sound’, with any necessary modifications, then it can be adopted by the Council.

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background
  • All Warwickshire residents
  • Professionals and professional bodies
  • Elected members

Interests

  • Environment and sustainability
  • Policies, plans and strategies