Residents asked to help shape future plans for Staffordshire’s natural resources
People are being invited to have their say on future plans for quarrying, mining and other mineral extraction in Staffordshire, to support the county’s economy and the creation of jobs.
The minerals industry is an important part of the Staffordshire economy, supplying the necessary materials for the construction sector and the building of everything from new houses, schools to roads. The County Council makes decisions on how natural resources can be taken out of the ground and is holding a consultation to hear people's views on its draft proposals. People can view the details and have their say at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/planning.
The Council's draft Minerals Local Plan sets out the supplies of sand, gravel and other materials required to support the county’s growth over the next 15 years. The plan includes proposals for potential quarry sites and how sites are to be restored to improve the local environment."
The sector contributes around £300m to the local economy per year and in 2011, 660 people were employed in the sector in Staffordshire with many more in the supply chain and supported industries.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for economy and infrastructure Mark Winnington said:
“Managing our natural resources is an important part of supporting Staffordshire's economy and local jobs but we need to carefully balance the extraction of these resources with the needs of local communities and protecting our environment.
“By planning ahead and having robust guidelines in place, we will make sure we minimise any impact on peoples' lives and our countryside, at the same time as supporting our economy and jobs.
“This is an important area of work which affects us all and I would encourage people to have a look at the website and let us know what they think.”
Staffordshire has around 58 quarries which produce about two thirds of the sand and gravel sold in the West Midlands and accounts for between two and three percent of UK supplies. The county has one of only 12 cement kilns in the UK at Cauldon near Waterhouses, and 80% of the anhydrite, a key material used in the cement industry, is produced from Staffordshire’s only mine at Fauld, near Tutbury. Staffordshire also produces the greatest amount of clay and shale used in brick and tile manufacturing compared with any other county.
Local communities often benefit when sites are properly planned and Staffordshire has many examples of old quarries which have been restored to a high standard. Furthermore, people are now able to get more involved in planning issues thanks to the Council's Statement of Community Interest which makes it easier for people to have their say.
For further details on the consultation visit www.staffordshire.gov.uk/planning. The consultation will close on Friday, 4 July 2014.