Minerals and waste planning policy

Minerals Local Plan


We adopted the Essex Minerals Local Plan (PDF, 8.3mB) on July 2014. The plan:

  • provides planning policies for minerals development in Essex until 2029
  • identifies future sites for mineral development

The plan includes ways to reduce reliance on primary mineral resources in Essex. This includes the use of recycled aggregates.

The Essex Minerals Local Plan includes:

  • the Minerals Core Strategy, which sets out the long-term direction for minerals development and a plan to deliver this
  • development management policies for minerals planning
  • strategic site allocations and safeguarding for mineral extraction
  • a Policies Map, showing site locations

Minerals Local Plan 2014 Review

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires us to review policies in local plans at least once every five years.

The Minerals Local Plan review process will take place in stages as set out in the Minerals and Waste Development Scheme. This document will be updated in due course.

The review is looking at whether each policy and supporting text is still fit for purpose. The work to date includes looking into the extent of the need to allocate new sites to maintain a sufficient supply of sand and gravel in Essex.

The review has already been through three stages:

  1. A consultation (under Regulation 18 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (as amended)) in March to April 2021.
  2. An informal engagement on Policy S6 of the Minerals Local Plan in February to March 2022.
  3. A ‘Call for Sites’ exercise for new future sand and gravel extraction sites in February to March 2022.

The responses to these consultation stages are being assessed and the candidate sites are being put through a site assessment/selection process. The results of this process will be consulted upon in due course. It is currently proposed that further consultation will take place in early 2023 (under Regulation 18).

Until the review is complete, the current Essex Minerals Local Plan (2014) will be the main document used to determine any mineral planning applications.

Shale gas and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Essex

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has carried out extensive work to identify the feasible shale gas deposits in the UK. It is unlikely that ‘fracking’ will take place in Essex.

There is also an interactive map which has been produced by the Oil and Gas Authority showing on-shore gas and oil activity in the UK. There are no prospective shale gas areas in Essex.

Minerals local plan – supporting documents

The Minerals policies map (JPG, 5.5MB) shows the location of mineral infrastructure across the county. This includes mineral extraction and recycling sites.
The Essex County Council Minerals Local Plan Adoption Statement (PDF, 66kB) gives notice of our adoption of the plan.

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Sustainability Appraisals

Sustainability Appraisals test a plan’s policies to ensure that they’re supporting sustainable development. They test policies across environmental, social and economic themes, as set out in the Sustainability Appraisal itself.

Sustainability Appraisal Adoption Statement (PDF, 329kB)
Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report November 2012 (PDF, 918kB)
Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report Annex A - Plans and Programmes - Nov 2012 (PDF, 135kB)
Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report Annex B baseline info (PDF, 9.2mB)
Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report Annex C - Sustainability Framework - Nov 2012 (PDF, 116kB)
Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report Annex D - Policy Appraisals - Nov 2012 (PDF, 362kB)
Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report Annex E - Site Appraisals - Nov 2012 (PDF, 728kB)
Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report Annex F- Consultation Responses - Nov 2012 (PDF,57kB)
Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report Annex G - Alternatives & Progress - Nov 2012 (PDF, 372kB)
Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report Annex H - Quality Assurance Checklist - Nov 2012 (PDF, 59kB)
Sustainability Appraisal & Strategic Environmental Assessment - Environmental Report Non - Technical Summary - Nov 2012 (PDF, 677kB)
Sustainability Appraisal Strategic Environmental Assessment - Addendum (February 2014) (PDF, 469kB)
Appendix of Main Modifications (PDF, 204kB)

Greater Essex Local Aggregate Assessment

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires us to produce a Local Aggregate Assessment (LAA) every year.

The LAA monitors the current supply of minerals and helps to determine the amount required in the future. This ensures the production of a steady and adequate supply of minerals throughout the period covered by the Minerals Local Plan. The LAA covers the area known collectively as ‘Greater Essex’, which includes the unitary authorities of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock. See below for the most recent reports.

Each report is dated with the year that it was produced but it reports on the preceding calendar year. For example, the ‘Greater Essex Local Aggregate Assessment - December 2019’ reports on data representing the period between 01 January 2018 and 31 December 2018.

Greater Essex Local Aggregate Assessment - December 2021 (PDF, 2.07mB)
Greater Essex Local Aggregate Assessment - October 2020 (PDF, 2.37mB)
Greater Essex Local Aggregate Assessment - December 2019 (PDF, 2.17mB)
Greater Essex Local Aggregate Assessment - December 2018 (PDF, 2mB)
Greater Essex Local Aggregate Assessment - October 2017 (PDF, 2mB)
Greater Essex Local Aggregate Assessment - November 2016 (PDF, 1.5mB)
Greater Essex Local Aggregate Assessment - Update 2014 (PDF, 5mB)
Greater Essex Local Aggregate Assessment - June 2013 (PDF, 5mB)

Supplementary Planning Guidance

Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) provides more evidence, clarification and support for certain policies. This can also give more details on how to interpret or apply policies in practice.
SPG can take many forms including:

  • Design Guides
  • Master Plans
  • Development Control Advice Notes

It can help:

  • by giving a greater level of detail than a development plan
  • when an urgent policy response is necessary

SPGs do not have the same status as adopted Development Plan policies. They cannot be used to make new policies. However, they’re a material consideration in determining planning applications.

The Supplementary Planning Guidance: Mineral Site Restoration for Biodiversity (June, 2016) (PDF, 9mB) supports the Minerals Local Plan. It gives guidance on how to promote biodiversity on mineral sites. Using this can help site operators make successful applications.

We consulted conversation bodies and the Mineral Products Association when creating the SPG. It’s aimed at creating 200 hectares of new habitat for plant and animal life. It focuses on areas considered a priority for conservation.

The SPG also:

  • implements local plan policy relating to mineral site restoration and after-use
  • focuses efforts on 5 schemes that offer the best opportunity to enhance biodiversity
  • identifies an approach to creating habitats at mineral sites
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