Draft report revised after meeting on 14 iii 2007 after meeting with Steve Gill - gutted version

WEST OF ENGLAND WASTE MANAGEMENT & PLANNING STRATEGY

MEMBER PROJECT BOARD

 

Date:  17 June 2008                                                                      

 

TITLE:  JOINT WASTE CORE STRATEGY: PREFERRED OPTIONS DOCUMENT AND CONSULTATION PLAN

 

1.         Recommendations

1.1       That the Project Board notes the content of the draft Preferred Options Consultation Document and Consultation Plan and invites the views of the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Reference Group and the respective Unitary Authority Scrutiny Groups prior to recommending to the Unitary Authorities the content of the Consultation Document and the approach to consultation on Preferred Options.

2.         Summary                                      

2.1             The four constituent Authorities are preparing a Joint Waste Core Strategy for the West of England. The draft Preferred Options Consultation Document builds on the Issues and Options consultation that took place in 2007 and develops a planning strategy for inclusion in the formal submission of the Joint Waste Core Strategy to the Secretary of State.

2.2             The draft Preferred Options Consultation Document proposes a spatial planning option for the distribution of the waste management facilities that will be required over the plan period and identifies the potential sites for strategic waste management facilities. The proposals for sites suitable for Waste Recovery facilities is being informed by a study of sites considered suitable having regard to criteria determined at the Issues and Options stage. These represent draft proposals resulting from work in progress.

2.3             There is a need to provide substantial additional landfill capacity. However, an on-going assessment of the capacity of existing and planned landfill (including landraise) facilities in the West of England is highlighting the limited capacity of existing planned provision and the limited amount of land not otherwise constrained by major aquifers or international wildlife sites. The Joint Waste Core Strategy will need to show how the identified need for landfill can be met either within the West of England or by continuing to export waste to landfill elsewhere. This will require further study to inform the submitted landfill strategy.

2.4             Members are requested to note the content of the draft Preferred Options Consultation Document. This represents a draft stage in the preparation of a consultation document, and is not the consultation document itself. This would need to be formally approved by the constituent authorities. 

2.5             Members are recommended to request the views of the West of England Joint Overview and Scrutiny Reference Group and the views of the Scrutiny Groups of the constituent Authorities. Following consideration of these views at a joint meeting of Members in September, the Board will be asked to agree a Preferred Options Consultation Document for subsequent agreement by the constituent authorities for the purposes of undertaking public consultation.

3.         The significant issues in this report are:

3.1             The draft Preferred Options Consultation Document focuses on four policy areas relating to waste. These are: Waste Minimisation; Recycling and Composting; Recovery and Landfill.

3.2             Waste Minimisation: The recommended preferred option is to include in the Joint Waste Core Strategy a Policy that promotes the use of Waste Audits in accordance with the draft Regional Spatial Strategy, and to identify the types of development that it would apply to.

3.3             Recycling and Composting:  The recommended preferred option is to include in the Joint Waste Core Strategy a Policy on the criteria for Recycling and Composting, including providing support for the provision of Inert Waste Recycling facilities, Household Waste Recycling Centres in certain specified locations, small-scale Open Windrow Composting on farms, In-vessel Composting facilities and maintaining the existing provision of Non-inert Material Recycling / Waste Transfer facilities.

3.4             Recovery: This is the process of extracting a product of value from waste materials, including recycling, composting and energy recovery. The preferred spatial option is to identify suitable sites to enable the distribution of waste recovery facilities sufficient to provide capacity for the treatment of some 800,000 tonnes of waste each year.

3.5             Landfill / Landraise: The Joint Waste Core Strategy will need a strategy to provide additional capacity for non-inert landfill space if the West of England is to become self-sufficient in landfill capacity for non-hazardous waste. The draft Regional Spatial Strategy sets out indicative capacity targets for non-inert landfill / landraise (but not for inert landfill). These assume that the capacity to divert non-hazardous waste from landfill to other forms of treatment will mean that the requirement for landfill / landraise reduces over time.

3.6             While there is an acknowledged need, an on-going assessment of landfill / landraise capacity is highlighting the limited existing and planned capacity. It is also demonstrating that there are limited areas not otherwise constrained by major aquifer or international wildlife designation (including buffer zones) to search for new landfill / landraise sites.

4.6.1       The preferred option for non-hazardous landfill (including landraise) is that the Joint Waste Core Strategy should identify on the Key Diagram Landfill Search Areas based on the findings of the Landfill Study and to identify relevant criteria for the consideration of planning proposals for landfill coming from the market, together with investigating the scope for continued reliance on landfill facilities outside the West of England.

3.7             Further study is being undertaken to establish:

·         whether there are opportunities within identified constraint areas within the West of England for potential landfill sites;

·         whether any landraise (the deposit of waste material above existing or original ground level) options exist; or

·         whether there are any previously unidentified opportunities to export waste; and to establish

·         the feasibility of adopting a area of search approach for landfill / landraise.

3.8             Appropriate Assessment: It is necessary, under the Habitats Directive, to ensure the protection of the integrity of European Wildlife Sites within and outside of the plan area.

3.9             A Screening Report is being prepared to see if the Preferred Options proposals are likely to have a significant effect on any European Wildlife Site. This will be consulted upon alongside the Preferred Options Document and Sustainability Appraisal. The Appropriate Assessment itself will need to be undertaken by a specialist consultancy, and the findings may require a reconsideration of the sites currently identified as being appropriate for strategic waste management facilities.

3.10         Strategic Flood Risk Assessments: Planning Policy Statement 25 concerns development and flood risk. It requires that local planning authorities, in preparing their local development frameworks should undertake a Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) for the whole of their administrative area.

3.11         In the West of England, each Authority is undertaking a SFRA for their area. These are at different stages of preparation and, as with the Appropriate Assessment, the consideration of the findings of the Strategic Flood Risk Assessments may require reconsideration of the appropriateness of the currently identified sites.

3.12         Sustainability Appraisal:  A Sustainability Appraisal of the Preferred Options is being prepared by external consultants. The interim Sustainability Appraisal report is a background report.

 

4.         Policy

4.1             Following changes introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, Councils are required to prepare a local development framework, which, together with the Regional Spatial Strategy, will replace existing development plans.

4.2             The four West of England Authorities have agreed to work together to prepare a Joint Waste Core Strategy in recognition of the strategic benefits that such an arrangement offers. When adopted, the Joint Waste Core Strategy will become part of the Local Development Framework of each constituent Authority. It will provide a framework to guide the more detailed waste planning policies of each Authority.

 

5.         Consultation

5.1             The publication of Planning Policy Statement 12: Local Spatial Planning and the associated amendments to local development regulations on 4 June 2008 introduced changes to the process of preparing development plan documents.  Consultation on “Preferred Options” is no longer a formal stage in the preparation of development plan documents.

5.2             Consultation on the Joint Waste Core Strategy Preferred Options document will be part of the consultation during the preparation phase of the Plan, which has included consultation on Issues and Options. As a consequence, the consultation requirements are less prescribed. However, the Consultation Plan will need to reflect the requirements of the Statements of Community Involvement of the constituent Authorities.

5.3             As part of the Consultation Plan, it is proposed to hold public events; one in each area of the four constituent Authorities. These will be informal “drop-in” events, supported by exhibition and information material. Officers will be on hand throughout each event to inform the public about the Preferred Options.    

5.4             In line with the approach adopted at the Issues and Options stage, it is proposed to prepare both a full version of the Preferred Options Consultation Document and a non-technical summary. All consultation documents, including information about proposed development sites and general areas will be made available on the www.rubbishorresource.co.uk and the www.westofengland.org websites, with links from each Authority’s website. The public and stakeholders will be encouraged to respond to the consultation document online, but alternative means of responding will also be provided.

 

6.         Context

6.1       The Joint Waste Core Strategy is being prepared in the context of national and regional policy, which emphasises diversion of waste away from landfill.  It is required to be in general conformity with the Regional Spatial Strategy and will need to have regard to the emerging West of England Joint Waste Strategy (for municipal waste) and the Sustainable Community Strategies and other key strategies of each constituent Authority.

 

7.         Preferred Options – Timetable

7.1       The process for preparing for consultation on the Preferred Options first seeks the views of the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Reference Group at their meeting on 11 July 2008 and the respective Authorities’ Scrutiny Groups at their meetings taking place between 30 June and 24 July 2008. These views will be reported back to Members at a joint meeting to be held during September 2008.

7.2     Each Authority will need to agree to consult on the Preferred Options. Assuming approval to consult were forthcoming during October, and allowing time to print documents etc., this will provide for Preferred Options consultation to commence by end of November 2008. Taking account of the Christmas holiday period, there could be an eight-week consultation period. 

 

8.         Risk Assessment

8.1       The Joint Waste Development Plan Document is included in each        Authority’s Local Development Scheme. Failure to carry out the Preferred       Options stage of plan preparation would result in a failure to meet        Government and Council identified planning priorities, which could     potentially affect future Planning Delivery Grant awards and could affect          the “soundness” of the Joint Waste Core Strategy.

8.2                         Not undertaking Habitats Regulations Assessment and taking account of Strategic Flood Risk Assessments could affect the “soundness” of the Joint Waste Core Strategy.

8.3             Delay in progressing consultation on the Preferred Options of the Joint Waste Core Strategy could delay the adoption of policies necessary to provide for the timely delivery of new waste facilities for municipal and commercial purposes.

 

9.         Equalities Impact Assessment

9.1       The proposed consultation process will seek to ensure that information about and access to the pre-submission consultation documents is available to all who wish to inspect them and submit comments. The consultation arrangements will be in line with the Authority’s Statements of Community Involvement.

 

10.       Legal and Resource Implications

Legal

10.1    The Joint Waste Core Strategy will need to be prepared in accordance with the statutory provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and regulations set out in The Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2004.  They will have regard to Government policy as set out in PPS12 Local Development Frameworks and PPS10 Planning for Sustainable Waste Management, and be in general conformity with the Regional Spatial Strategy. 

Financial

10.2    The financial costs associated with the proposed studies and consultation can be met from existing budgets.

            Land             

10.3    None

Personnel    

10.4         The staff preparing the Joint Waste Core Strategy will be employed by the       constituent Authorities, augmented, where necessary by contracted
      consultants.

 

ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Background Papers

Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004

The Local Authorities (Functions and Responsibilities)(England) Regulations 2000 (No. 2853) (as amended)

The Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations2004 as amended by the Town and Country Planning (Local Development)(England)(Amendment) Regulations 2008

The Appropriate Assessment (Regulation 48) The Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Regulations 1994 (as amended)

Planning Policy Statement 10 Planning for Sustainable Waste Management, July 2005

Planning Policy Statement 12: Local Spatial Planning, June 2008

Draft Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West, June 2006

Draft Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West, Examination in Public Panel Report, December 2007

Issues and Options: A Consultation Document to Develop a Waste Management and Planning Strategy for the West of England, Technical Document, January 2007

Report on Responses to the Issues and Options Consultation January – March 2007

West of England Joint Waste Strategy

Joint Waste Core Strategy Preferred Options - Interim Sustainability Appraisal

 

 

Author: Allan Davies, Planning Policy Officer, North Somerset Council and West of England Partnership Office allan.davies@westofengland.org