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28 Nov 2018

Latest MPA Report Highlights Mineral Supply Cannot Be Assumed

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has published their 7th Annual Mineral Planning Survey (AMPS 2018) which covers the period to the end of 2017. It is based upon data for the whole of Great Britain provided in confidence by MPA members.

The Survey has been produced in the context of a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and against the backdrop of aggregates demand that was broadly flat during 2017.

Demand for land-won sand and gravel continues to outstrip the amount of new reserves being permitted, with the 10-year average replenishment rate decreasing to 53%. During 2017, newly consented sand and gravel reserves represented just 24% of annual sales. In the case of crushed rock, the 10-year average replenishment rate has reduced significantly to 69%, with new reserves permitted in 2017 representing just 3% of 2017 sales.

The AMPS data, which shows the interface between mineral operators and the land use planning system, is derived from original MPA data together with information from the annual Aggregate Working Party reports. In the last few years, this work has been compiled in the form of the MPA Annual Mineral Planning Survey (AMPS) reports.

The key findings of the Survey are:

  •  Sales –Total sales of land-won sand and gravel decreased by 1.4% in 2017 while sales of crushed rock increased by 0.5%. On balance demand for land won aggregates was broadly flat during 2017.
  • Replenishment of sand and gravel reserves - Only 24% of sales were replenished through new permissions in 2017.
  • Replenishment of crushed rock reserves - The 10-year average for the replenishment of crushed rock reserves was 69% in 2017, a reduction from 116% in 2016.
  • Numbers of planning applications – There has been a slight increase in submissions for sand and gravel in 2017 (15 sites) compared to 2016 (13 sites), the majority being for extensions at existing operations. The number of crushed rock applications decreased (4 compared to 5 in 2016). A further 19 applications (23 in 2016) were made for time extension applications and similar matters to maintain existing operations.
  •  Appeals – For the first time in several years MPA members recorded 2 appeals in 2017.
  •  Number of planning decisions –Number of planning decisions – The number of determinations for mineral applications continues to be relatively low (a total of 10 approvals and 5 refusals, across both sand and gravel and crushed rock sites) compared to the heights of 2008/09 (30+ sites). 2017 saw the highest number of refusals since 2003.
  •  Time taken to obtain permission - It takes 29.4 and 29.9 months respectively to secure permission for both sand and gravel and crushed rock reserves, based on a 10-year average. The data for 2017 suggests that sand and gravel determinations took 4 months less than for those determined in 2016.
  •  Numbers of Core Strategies/Development Plans adopted - The 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act required that full plan coverage be in place within three years. However, as of August 2018 90 out of 118 (80%) English Local Planning Authorities had an adopted Core Strategy/Local Plan, with 22 out of 25 (88%) Welsh Local Authorities having an adopted Local Development Plan.
  • Plan Allocations - Over the past 10 years to 2017, 44% of all new permissions issued were for sites that had not been allocated in mineral plans. In 2016 the figure was 48%.

Announcing the publication of AMPS 2018, MPA Executive Director of Planning and Mineral Resources, Mark Russell said:

"While the revision of the National Planning Policy Framework earlier this year reinforced the essentiality of minerals supply to supporting the delivery of Government's policy ambitions around housing & infrastructure, the long-term downward trends in replenishment rates identified in the latest AMPS report underline the fact that the supply of essential minerals cannot be assumed.

The recent publication of Government's Construction Sector Deal explicitly acknowledges the role and importance of mineral products in the wider supply chain that supports housing and infrastructure development.  This is further supported by the UK Minerals Strategy, produced by the minerals and mineral products industry, which sets out the steps needed to help ensure that society's demands can be supplied sustainably for the next 25 years.

A steady and adequate supply of aggregates needs to be planned, monitored and managed, all of which require support and strong direction from central Government. A well supported, forward looking Managed Aggregate Supply System is vital to allow mineral planning authorities to plan in good time for future mineral demand, and to give the industry the confidence to plan forward investment to meet that same demand."


Notes to Editors:

Please find a link to the AMPS document here