MINERALS AND WASTE JOINT PLAN – BACKGROUND

Area included in the Minerals and Waste Joint Plan

Area of the Minerals and Waste Joint Plan

If you’re already aware of the Minerals and Waste Joint plan, and just want to comment on the current consultation on the amendments, please scroll down to CONSULATION – AMENDMENTS.

If you’re new to the plan, and are wondering what it is about, carry on reading!

What is the Minerals and Waste Joint Plan?
As minerals and waste planning authorities, North Yorkshire County Council, the City of York Council and the North York Moors National Park Authority are required to produce a minerals and waste joint plan.
This plan will, once finalised, set out new planning policies for minerals developments and waste disposal across all three areas. which will guide decisions on planning applications up to 2030.

Sounds like a gripping read. What influence does it have?
It’s hard to over-estimate the importance and influence of the Minerals and Waste Joint Plan – or MWJP, for short. This documents sets the baseline of policy in the area for all types of mineral extraction and waste disposal for the next fifteen years – including fracking and other types of unconventional oil and gas extraction, and disposal of fracking waste water by re-injection or in rivers and the sea.
So, basically, this is a really important document, particularly – from our point of view – in relation to the development of fracking in North Yorkshire.

Has there been much discussion about the MWJP already?

Yes, there has. The three authorities have a MWJP in place already, and have been discussing what should go in a new version of this important document since way back in 2013. The new version has already been put out for public consultation four times, the last of which was in January this year. You may have even responded to this via our website.

So what stage are we at now?

The current version of the MWJP is called the Publication Draft, which as the name implies is the last consultation document before publication. This was published in November 2016 and can be viewed here. The Hydrocarbons section starts on p75. and the plan wording itself, along with policy justification, runs from p83-98. Knock yourself out!

I thought the Publication Draft had already been commented on.

It has. However, the MWJP has undergone some changes and amendments, which have been put out for consultation again. The official document for this consultation is here. While quite a bit of this isn’t relevant to hydrocarbons development, and some of this is just tweaking the language, it still gives us an opportunity to have our say, particularly as the oil and gas industry has send in documents trying to roll back the very modest protection that the MWJP currently has against unconventional gas exploitation.

So what have Third Energy said about the plan?

You can read a summary of their problems with the plan here. The headlines are as follows

  • they want to remove the provision which prevents fracking within 500m of people’s homes
  • they want to remove the 3.5 km visual buffer zone around protected areas such as the North York Moors National Park and the Howardian Hills AONB
  • they want to use the very limited definition of fracking that the Government used in the Infrastructure Bill, which is based on quantity of liquid used, not the process itself
  • they don’t want limits on how many wells or well-sites there are in each PEDL (Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence)  – the JMWP limits this to 10 well-pads per 10×10 km2 PEDL

To find out more about Third Energy’s attempts to weaken protection for Ryedale, click here: JMWP Third Energy comments

CONSULTATION AMENDMENTS

So what can we do now?

There is a consultation open to comment on the latest round of amendments, which also gives people the opportunity to oppose the industry’s attempts to roll back the few protections there are in the plan.

When’s the deadline?

The deadline is Wednesday 6th September at 5pm. That’s NEXT WEDNESDAY!

OK, I’m in. How do I respond?

The NYCC would like people to respond via their online forms. The first is a simple address form and can be found here: Response_form_-_part_A

The second is the response form itself, which you can find here: Response_form_-_part_B

 

Responding through their forms is not compulsory, only ‘preferable’, according to their statement of representations procedure, so you can also email your submission, with your comments as an attachment, to mwjointplan@northyorks.gov.uk . Please put Waste and Minerals Joint Plan Consultation Submission in the subject line.

You must include your name, full address including post code, email address, phone number and organisation (for example, if you’re responding on behalf of a local campaign group, a Parish Council, a charity, or any other organisation).

All the information about changes to the plan itself can be found here:

Note: Please do not say that you are responding on behalf of Frack Free Ryedale, as we will be posting our own response.

What points can I say in my response?

Please download the attached document and use it as a basis for your response.