PAGE has fought its campaign on two fronts: firstly, to oppose the government-imposed targets for sand and gravel in Oxfordshire; secondly, to defend the PAGE area from inclusion in the County Council Minerals strategy.
Regional government consultation on mineral quotas
In May 2010, PAGE and the parish councils in the alliance submitted their objections to the 2.1 million tonnes per annum quota placed on Oxfordshire by GOSE (Government Office for the South East). This quota was open to consultation until 1st June 2010, under a process initiated by the previous Labour government. Oxfordshire County Council also opposed this quota. Our submission to the GOSE consultation can be downloaded here: Comments form – Parishes Against Gravel Extraction 26 May 2010.
Coalition government abolishes the South East Plan
In an announcement on 6 July 2010, Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, announced the revocation of regional strategies. This means that the South East Plan, driven by GOSE to develop a top-down approach to housing targets, minerals quotas and other planning issues, has been abolished.
This meant that County Councils will now have the freedom to determine their own minerals quotas: “Planning authorities can choose to use alternative figures for their planning purposes if they have new or different information and a robust evidence base” (point 15 of the Revocation Q&A document).
Although the South East Plan has been revoked, County Councils are obliged to continue the creation of Local Development Frameworks (of which minerals strategy is a key component).
PAGE have challenged the current supply/demand figures for minerals in the county and proposed an alternative solution which could benefit the county as a whole.
We will continue to work closely with the County Council planning officers to get our message across that the GOSE target of 2.1mtpa and the County’s own assessment of 1.58mtpa are unnecessarily exaggerated, particularly with increased potential use of recycled and secondary aggregates to replace primary aggregates from new minerals extraction sites.
Oxfordshire County Council Minerals and Waste Development Framework
OCC are redeveloping their gravel and sand extraction policies through the Minerals and Waste Development Framework.
A number of sites have been nominated for sand and gravel extraction throughout Oxfordshire and the OCC have developed a series of spatial options for consideration. The recommended option(s) will be in force until 2030.
There are a number of nominated sites in the PAGE area:
SG-03 Land adjacent to Benson Marina (view map from Oxfordshire County Council website)
SG-09 Land north of Drayton St Leonard, Berinsfield and Newington (view map)
SG-13 Land at Shillingford, Warborough and Overy (view map)
SG-59 Land at Stadhampton (view map)
OCC originally devised a series of five spatial options for consideration and the PAGE area was listed in 4 of the 5 spatial options. These options were reduced to 3 after further consultation, with the PAGE areas continuing to be nominated.
In October 2010, the County Council agreed a list of preferred sites, and following further work by planners a preferred Minerals Strategy was agreed to be sent to public consultation. This was welcome news for the PAGE Campaign, as all the PAGE areas were removed from the preferred Strategy for a variety of reasons based on our submission documents.
The Public Consultation was carried out in the summer of 2011. The results of that consultation can be found on the Oxfordshire County Council website.
In March 2012, the County Council Cabinet agreed that the preferred Minerals Strategy should be submitted to central government. We anticipate that following public comments, this submission will be sent to central government for examination later in 2012, with a government inspector conducting an Examination in Public at some point in 2012. If the EiP finds the strategy to be sound, then it should be adopted at some point in 2013.
Although the PAGE areas are not included within the submitted Minerals Strategy, we shall continue to keep a watching brief over the process as we enter into a period of government inspection.
PAGE held a series of launch events throughout South Oxfordshire to launch the 2010 Campaign.
Over 500 people attended the events, and many more have subsequently signed up to the campaign.
We continue to run public meetings in the PAGE area to update residents about the Campaign. Dates for these meetings are published in Parish newsletters and magazines, are detailed on this website, and are published in our regular yellow sheet newsletter and monthly email newsletter.