4. Resources and Waste Management

4.1.

INTRODUCTION

4.1.1.

The policies and proposals to achieve the prudent use of the resources goal specified below are set out in this chapter. The key issues considered are safeguarding mineral resources, facilitating infrastructure improvements, support for appropriate renewable energy projects and waste management measures.

Goal 4: Make more efficient and sustainable use of the area’s resources

4.2.

JUSTIFICATION OF PART 1 STRATEGIC POLICIES

4.2.1.

The economic importance of safeguarding appropriate areas of mineral reserves is recognised. However care needs to be taken to ensure that areas of environmental sensitivity will not be compromised.

4.2.2.

In implementing the public utility element of the strategic policy, a balance must be achieved between the needs of the consumer in a modern society and the relevant environmental considerations. Utility development should not be undertaken at the expense of the natural environment. New development schemes will need to be supported by adequate infrastructure provision and in areas of deficiency, financial contributions may be required from developers to implement any essential improvements.

4.2.3.

Significant increases in the use of renewable energy sources performs a vital role in reducing the level of greenhouse gases produced through the burning of fossil fuels. The Council aims to encourage renewable energy developments, but will not accept proposals without careful consideration of their possible impacts on the environment as a whole. Each renewable technology has its own specific locational characteristics and requirements and different areas will be better suited to different technologies. Accordingly, proposals for renewable energy development should be directed towards locations where the technology and energy generation output is viable and where environmental impacts can be satisfactorily addressed.

4.2.4.

The Council seeks to adopt a sustainable approach to waste management with an emphasis on the waste hierarchy and the initial principles of reduction, re-use and recovery of waste, in preference to other waste management methods lower in the waste hierarchy in accordance with WAG’s Waste Management Strategy “Wise About Waste”. The Council is obliged by the EU Framework Directive for Waste to help facilitate the establishment of an integrated and adequate network of waste management installations. This will be brought forward through the Regional Waste Plan and the Council’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy. In actioning the strategy proposals, measures will need to be introduced to secure restoration of the Tir John landfill area.

4.3.

MINERALS

Objectives

  • To protect the countryside from development that would cause material harm, particularly where the undeveloped coastline or other areas of high landscape quality are concerned (1.c)
  • To avoid significant adverse environmental impacts from new development (1.j)
  • To secure an acceptable balance between mineral production and protection of the environment (4.b)
  • To safeguard and improve the quality and quantity of controlled waters (4.c)
  • To promote high standards of restoration and beneficial after-use of mineral workings (4.f)
  • To promote the prudent use of minerals and the re-use and recycling of suitable materials (4.g)
4.3.1.

The policies in this section are formulated with a view to striking an acceptable balance between the national, regional and local requirements for mineral resources, the protection of the natural and built environment and the quality of life for those people living and working within the County. The mineral policies will be supplemented by SPG providing detailed advice on mineral matters, including development control, restoration, aftercare and after-use, monitoring and the review of mineral development.

4.3.2.

The County sits on the edge of the South Wales Coalfield Basin, as illustrated in Diagram 7 below. Opportunities for mineral development are limited to the north of the County, due to the high level of protection afforded to the Gower AONB and the extent of the populated area. Gower has a complex geological history which gives the area its wide variety of scenery, which is to be conserved and enhanced, whilst built development sterilises most of the land south of the M4. The only significant mineral resource physically available is Pennant Sandstone which caps the coal measures. It has the greatest environmental capacity to the north of the M4. It includes deposits suitable for road construction where a high degree of skid resistance is essential. There is also methane gas associated with the lower seams of the Coal Measures, as well as scattered thin outcrops of sand and gravel resources. A number of potential sand/aggregate resources have been identified along the M4 corridor, which are safeguarded on the Proposals Map.

4.3.3.

With no active limestone or sandstone quarries, the County’s mineral reserves are therefore limited. The adjoining Neath/Port Talbot area, which contains resources of significance on a UK scale within sustainable travel distances, will provide the bulk of resources for the foreseeable future. The most significant proportion of sand is from marine dredging. There is concern however that this activity may be a cause of coastal erosion and the depletion of sand and beach resources. Marine dredging is essentially outside the Council’s control. It is carried out under licence from the Crown Estate and the decision on whether or not dredging can take place rests with WAG. The Council as a consultee will resist proposals where there may be a likelihood of an adverse impact on the environment until more is known about the relationship between dredging and patterns of coastal erosion. A reduction in marine dredging may however increase pressure to consider the alternative of land based resources.

Diagram 7: Geological Map of the County

 

POLICY R1

Proposals for the development of mineral resources will be permitted where they satisfy the following criteria:

  1. It can be demonstrated that there is a requirement for the development of the mineral resource to meet the need of society, and it is required to supply an identified need which cannot be met from recycled materials or existing reserves,
  2. The proposed end use of the mineral resource is appropriate given its qualities,
  3. The development will, as appropriate, minimise the production of waste, increase the use of secondary resources, increase the recovery of minerals from waste and/or increase the recycling of mineral products,
  4. The development would not cause demonstrable harm to the amenities of local communities, in particular with regard to access, traffic generation, noise, vibration, dust and odour,
  5. The development would not prejudice the reasons for which sites of international, national and local ecological, environmental or landscape importance were designated, and there is no significant adverse impact, in particular visual impact, on the landscape, natural heritage and the historic environment,
  6. There would be no adverse impact on the quality and quantity of controlled waters,
  7. No significant danger, damage or disruption would arise from subsidence or ground instability,
  8. The proposal would not result in the permanent loss of Grades 1, 2 or 3a agricultural land,
  9. The minerals will be transported by rail or waterways wherever feasible,
  10. There is provision for appropriate and progressive restoration and aftercare measures, including post closure management of the site and the provision of other appropriate compensatory enhancements.

Within the Gower AONB mineral development will be strongly resisted. Applicants will be required to demonstrate that any proposed development is in the public interest. Proposals that are likely to affect the integrity of an internationally designated site (SPA, SAC or Ramsar Site) will only be permitted if:

  1. No alternative supplies can be made available at reasonable cost and there is no scope for meeting the need in some other way, and
  2. There are imperative reasons of overriding public interest.

Main Cross References: SP10, EV21-29, EV32, EV39-40, EC13, HC17, R2-R8, AS2, AS9

National Planning Guidance: Minerals Planning Policy Wales (MPPW); MTAN Aggregates, Draft Minerals TAN2 Coal

SPG: Promoting Swansea's Natural Environment: A Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

Amplification

4.3.4.

The requirement for mineral resources will be viewed as being limited to that which is necessary to meet the needs of the present generation for economic growth and maintenance of standards of living. Where the end use of a mineral resource is not consistent with the quality and significance of the resource it will be viewed as being misused and therefore wasteful.

4.3.5.

Mineral developers should endeavour to minimise environmental disturbance and look for real opportunities to improve the environment of local communities and to protect and enhance habitats, species and resources such as ground and surface waters. Compensatory measures will be sought from mineral developers with respect to loss of biodiversity as a result of any proposed mineral development. In this respect, appropriate restoration, aftercare and after-use should be of a very high quality.

4.3.6.

Mineral development should not take place in the AONB unless there are exceptional circumstances. No over-riding need for mineral extraction in this area has been established and a policy of strongly resisting mineral development is appropriate. Any application within the AONB will also be assessed against the criteria specified in MPPW.

4.3.7.

Mineral development proposals within or adjacent to designated areas of international, national and local significance will be carefully examined to ensure the need for the mineral is balanced against environmental and other relevant considerations. Proposals will be assessed against MPPW and Policies EV25-EV28 of the UDP and will need to satisfy the requirements of the relevant policy before development is permitted.

COAL

4.3.8.

Coal mining activity within the County is presently at a minimal level and due to constraints the Council do not consider that it is a significant resource physically available. There are only limited Primary Resource Areas within the County. The Secondary Coal Resource Areas lie in bands over a significant area of the County. However, the majority of that area is built up and following guidance within Draft MTAN2, when a 500m buffer zone around settlements is applied, together with the exclusion of areas of international and national designations of environmental and cultural importance the Council do not consider there are any locations within the Resource Areas that are suitable for coal working. However, where applications for coal extraction do come forward they will be considered under Policy R2.

4.3.9.

There are no indications of any increased commercial interest and there have been no active deep mines since the closure of Brynlliw Colliery in 1983. The last remaining small mine (Graig Merthyr near Pontarddulais) has also now closed. Nevertheless, even small-scale proposals can result in localised problems if operational controls are not carefully applied. In addition, any ancillary operations associated with coal mining, such as processing facilities, need to be carefully considered.

POLICY R2

Proposals for coal mining, processing and recovery will only be supported where:

  1. There is a positive response to the general requirements listed in Policy R1,
  2. There would be no significant adverse effect on landscape, natural heritage and the historic environment,
  3. The function and character of any green wedge would not be prejudiced,
  4. There would be no adverse impact on the quality and/or quantity of controlled waters,
  5. Practical and effective measures can be taken to prevent anticipated minewater problems,
  6. Access arrangements are adequate and the volume and type of traffic generated can be safely accommodated on the highway network,
  7. No significant danger, damage or disruption would arise from subsidence or ground instability,
  8. Proposals for coal extraction will not be permitted within 500m of settlements, sensitive development or International and National Designations of environmental and cultural importance.

Where planning permission is granted for coal mining, a financial bond or other means of security will be required so as to secure satisfactory restoration, landscaping and aftercare.

Development proposals that would affect the working of known potential resources, as identified on the Proposals Map, will have to be accompanied by a full assessment of the potential resource and the impact of the proposal in terms of sterilising the resource. Permission will be refused if the assessment indicates that the resource would be sterilised.

Main Cross References: SP10, EV21-23, EV25, EV36, HC17, R1, R3, R6, AS2

National Planning Guidance: MPPW; Draft Minerals TAN2 Coal

SPG:

Amplification

4.3.10.

After making allowance for buffer zones to settlements and environmentally sensitive areas, such as the Gower AONB and SSSI’s, there are not considered to be any reserves of commercial significance or potential within the County where planning permission may be granted within the Plan period. However to satisfy the requirements of Draft MTAN2, resource areas where coal applications would be considered against Policy R2 are shown on the Proposals Map. Outside these areas coal working would not be acceptable. Due to the scale of the Proposals Map, identification of individual properties beyond buffer zones and environmentally sensitive areas which may be defined as sensitive development is unrealistic. Any coal application must therefore demonstrate that it satisfies minimum distances from sensitive development unless there are exceptional circumstances and will need to be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment. As a general guide, sensitive development may include housing, schools, hospitals and other buildings occupied by people on a regular basis where an acceptable standard of amenity should be expected. Other sensitive development includes the proposed high technology Felindre Strategic Business Park (Policy EC1(1) refers); Historic Parks, Gardens, Landscapes and their settings (EV11); Clyne Valley Country Park (HC22); and, dependent upon the nature of the development proposed, Hazardous Installations (EV41). The reasons for safeguarding these areas are set out in the respective policies.

4.3.11.

Coal recovery schemes, including the processing of coal waste materials from spoil tips, sidings and old stocking yards, can also make a useful contribution to coal production and lead to the reclamation of derelict land.

COAL BED METHANE GAS

4.3.12.

There are large volumes of methane gas locked up within the coal beds of South Wales, which may represent a valuable energy resource.

POLICY R3

Drilling for coal bed methane gas will be supported where:

  1. There is a positive response to the general requirements listed in Policy R1,
  2. There would be no significant adverse effect on natural heritage and the historic environment,
  3. The function and character of any green wedge would not be prejudiced,
  4. Access arrangements are adequate and the volume and type of traffic generated can be safely accommodated on the highway network,
  5. No significant danger, damage or disruption would arise from subsidence or ground instability, and
  6. There would be no adverse impact on the quality and/or quantity of controlled waters.

Main Cross References: SP10, EV21-23, EV36, R1-2, AS2

National Planning Guidance: MPPW; MTAN Aggregates; Coal Authority Act

SPG:

Amplification

4.3.13.

The Coal Authority Act, 1994, introduced a new framework for the licensing of land based oil and gas (including coal bed methane) developments whereby a single petroleum exploration and development licence replaces the previous exploration, appraisal and development licences. A single planning permission is now required and the environmental implications of the whole process of exploration and production at any site will now be considered together, including any requirements of the EIA Regulations.

SAND/AGGREGATES

4.3.14.

There are areas within the County that potentially contain significant sand and gravel resources. However, there has been only minimal interest in the extraction of such resources and currently no development is taking place.

POLICY R4

Proposals to develop land based sand and gravel extraction will be supported subject to an assessment of the supplies of such material available from both marine dredged and land resources within an appropriate area for land bank calculations and where:

  1. There is a positive response to the general requirements identified in Policy R1,
  2. There would be no significant adverse effect on natural heritage and the historic environment,
  3. There would be no adverse impact on the quality and quantity of controlled waters,
  4. Access arrangements are adequate and the volume and type of traffic generated can be safely accommodated on the highway network,
  5. There would be no significant adverse effect on amenity as a result of noise, grit, dust, odour or vibration.
Development proposals that would affect the working of known potential mineral resources, as identified on the Proposals Map, will have to be accompanied by a full assessment of the potential mineral resource and the impact of the proposal in terms of sterilising the resource. Permission will be refused if the assessment indicates that the mineral resources would be sterilised.

Main Cross References: SP10, EV21-23, EV25 EV29, EV39-40, R1, AS2

National Planning Guidance: MPPW; MTAN Aggregates

SPG:

Amplification

4.3.15.

The appropriate area for land bank calculations incorporates the area covered by the South Wales Regional Aggregate Working Party (SWRAWP) guidelines. Presently almost all of the land-won sand and gravel in South Wales is drawn from Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire (including the National Park) and Carmarthenshire. MTAN 1 states that Minerals Planning Authorities (MPAs) must have a 7 year sand and gravel landbank. The process of apportionment has recently been reviewed by the SWRAWP within the draft Regional Technical Statement (RTS) and concludes that the County’s share of primary aggregates can continue to be contributed by adjacent authorities within sustainable travel distances.

4.3.16.

WAG has undertaken an appraisal of landbased sand and gravel resources in South Wales (South Wales Sand and Gravel: Appraisal of Land-based extraction in South East Wales, 2000, Symonds). The study identified a number of potential mineral resource areas within the County, although significant further research needs to be undertaken to assess the viability of these resources, which the RTS indicates may be relatively thin and poor quality. WAG requires that the resource must be safeguarded against sterilisation by other forms of development and these areas are largely identified on the Proposals Map. However those parts of the known resource underlying areas that have already been developed as part of the urban form are not shown. The areas identified are for information purposes only and do not indicate areas within which mineral development will necessarily be acceptable in land use planning terms.

CRUSHED ROCK

4.3.17.

There are currently no active sandstone or gritstone quarries within the County. There are however two active quarries in close proximity to the County boundary, at Gilfach Quarry, near Neath, and Cwm Nant Lleici Quarry, near Pontardawe. Only Barlands Quarry, Bishopston has extant planning permission for limestone quarrying. However, the quarry is approaching exhaustion under its current planning permission and is presently inactive.

4.3.18.

When account is taken of SWRAWP’s Regional Guidelines for Aggregate Provision for South Wales, it is not considered necessary to identify any specific sites for crushed rock extraction within the County. Furthermore, the apportionment exercise set out in the Draft RTS does not expect the County to contribute any primary aggregates. The County’s share can continue to be provided by neighbouring authorities, but the Council will investigate other supply options to inform future Development Plans. The only significant rock resource physically available is Pennant Sandstone which outcrops north of the M4, particularly at Mynydd y Gwair. As recommended by the RTS, the area is safeguarded on the Proposals Map. It makes allowance for a 200m buffer zone around settlements and excludes environmentally sensitive designations. The area identified is for information purposes only and does not indicate where development will necessarily be acceptable in land use planning terms. The County’s limestone resource lies wholly within the AONB. MPPW requires the Council to safeguard all known mineral resources on their Proposals Map. However, as the quality and exact location of the limestone resource is not known at this stage, the Council will urgently undertake further investigative work in order to inform future plan preparation. The limestone resource will therefore be safeguarded within future Development Plans, but it is considered the restrictive policies that apply in the AONB will assist in preventing the limestone resources from being sterilised in the short term.

POLICY R5

Proposals to develop crushed rock resources will only be supported in exceptional circumstances having regard to the latest information on the production and adequacy of crushed rock reserves within an appropriate area for landbank calculations, in the light of any specific local need, and where:

  1. There is a positive response to the general requirements identified in Policy R1,
  2. There would be no significant adverse effect on natural heritage and the historic environment,
  3. There would be no adverse impact on the quality and quantity of controlled waters,
  4. The function and character of any green wedge would not be prejudiced,
  5. Access arrangements are adequate and the volume and type of traffic generated can be safely accommodated on the highway network, and
  6. There would be no significant detrimental impact on amenity as a result of noise, grit, dust, odour or vibration.
Development proposals that would affect the working of known potential mineral resources, as identified on the Proposals Map, will have to be accompanied by a full assessment of the potential mineral resource and the impact of the proposal in terms of sterilising the resource. Permission will be refused if the assessment indicates that the mineral resources would be sterilised.

Main Cross References: SP10, EV21-23, EV25-26, EV36, EV39-40, R1, R7, R11, AS2

National Planning Guidance: MPPW; MTAN Aggregates

SPG:

Amplification

4.3.19.

As limestone resources lie wholly within the AONB, any proposals to extend Barlands Quarry or to develop other limestone quarry sites will be strongly resisted. It is therefore considered inappropriate to identify either ‘specific sites’ or ‘preferred areas’, as demanded in MPPW, as this approach would be inconsistent with Policy R1. However, areas outside the AONB can be considered as ‘areas of search’.

4.3.20.

Any planning applications will only be considered in exceptional circumstances against the most up to date information on supply and demand and will need to take into account the review of environmental capacity and landbank calculations for the area when it is completed by SWRAWP. Any application for further mineral development at Barlands Quarry will be assessed against the EIA Regulations.

SECONDARY/RECYCLED AGGREGATES

4.3.21.

Where standards and specifications permit, secondary aggregate material can be recycled or re-used, particularly within the construction industry. Utilisation of secondary aggregate will help reduce the need to extract aggregate minerals and the adverse environmental and associated impacts that can occur.

4.3.22.

The use of secondary aggregates (colliery spoil, power station ash, blast furnace slag, recycled concrete crush and slate waste) is supported provided the aggregates are technically suitable and can be developed in an environmentally acceptable manner. Many sources of secondary aggregate, for example colliery spoil, will be remote and inaccessible.

POLICY R6

Proposals to develop secondary aggregate resources or recycling centres for construction and demolition waste will be supported where:

  1. There is a positive response to the general requirements identified in Policy R1,
  2. There would be no significant adverse effect on natural heritage and the historic environment,
  3. There would be no adverse impact on the quality and quantity of controlled waters,
  4. The function and character of any green wedge would not be prejudiced,
  5. Access arrangements are adequate and the volume and type of traffic generated can be safely accommodated on the highway network, and
  6. There would be no significant detrimental impact on amenity as a result of noise, grit, dust, odour or vibration.

Main Cross References: SP10, EV21-23, EV36, EV39-40, R1-2, R12, AS2

National Planning Guidance: MPPW; MTAN Aggregates; “Controlling the Environmental Effects of Recycled and Secondary Aggregates Production – A good practice guide”, DETR

SPG:

Amplification

4.3.23.

The Council will have regard to advice contained within the DETR’s Good Practice Guide “Controlling the Environmental Effects of Recycled and Secondary Aggregates Production” when considering the siting of any proposals for the production of secondary and/or recycled aggregates. Generally, the most acceptable locations for stand alone recycling centres for construction and demolition waste will be purpose built sites in areas designated within the UDP for industrial (B2) use, at waste transfer stations, or in worked out quarries, subject to meeting the above policy criteria.

BUFFER ZONE

POLICY R7

Within the buffer zone identified on the Proposals Map:

  1. Proposals for mineral extraction will not be permitted,
  2. Any new sensitive development will not be permitted, and
  3. Any other development proposals, including ancillary mineral operations will be carefully assessed to ensure there would be no significant adverse effect on the amenity of neighbouring properties or the quality and quantity of controlled waters.

Main Cross References: SP10, EV21-22, EV26, EV40, R1, R5

National Planning Guidance: MPPW; MTAN Aggregates

SPG:

Amplification

4.3.24.

A buffer zone has been identified around Barlands Quarry, Bishopston to protect adjoining sensitive development.

BORROW PITS

POLICY R8

Proposals for Borrow Pits related to the needs of a particular civil engineering project will be permitted where:

  1. The proposed site is located in close proximity to the construction location,
  2. There are clear environmental benefits as opposed to supply from secondary or recycled aggregates, or from established mineral working sites,
  3. There would be no significant adverse effect on natural heritage or historic environment,
  4. The geology and hydrology of the site, including water quality and quantity would not be affected,
  5. There would be no significant adverse effect on neighbouring land uses and communities, in particularly with regard to dust, noise, odour, vibration or safety,
  6. The land will be reclaimed no later than the completion of the project and provision will be made for restoration and aftercare of the site.

Main Cross References: SP10, EV21-23, EV29, EV36, EV40, R1, AS2

National Planning Guidance: MPPW; MTAN Aggregates

SPG:

Amplification

4.3.25.

A Borrow Pit is a temporary mineral working operated to supply particular construction projects, usually a new highway. Borrow Pits ought to be located within or close to a construction site and wherever possible the mineral should be supplied direct without using public roads

 

4.4.

INFRASTRUCTURE

Objectives

  • To encourage the provision of state of the art utility and telecommunications infrastructure whilst minimising adverse affects on the environment, communities and health (4.a)
  • To support renewable energy projects which would make a positive environmental contribution (4.e)
4.4.1.

Policies R9 and R10 seek to encourage the provision of improved public utility and telecommunication services, directing developments to suitable locations and minimising their impact on the environment, communities and health. Policy R11 seeks to support the development of renewable energy projects, identifying the visual, environmental and other criteria that schemes will need to satisfy.

4.4.2.

The provision of public utility services is an essential component of modern society, vital to the economy of the County and an important aid to the achievement of sustainable development. The Council recognises the constraints on utility providers in deciding where and when to invest in new infrastructure. In this respect Policy R9 seeks to strike a balance between the needs of the consumer, operational constraints imposed upon essential service providers, and environmental considerations.

4.4.3.

The Council recognises in particular the potential benefits that telecommunications can offer individuals and organisations, for example in terms of tele-cottaging and working from home, which can assist in creating a sustainable future by reducing the need to travel. In assessing the acceptability of telecommunications proposals the Council will take into account the technical and operational requirements within which the operator has to work and the latest government advice on any possible health effects.

PUBLIC UTILITIES

POLICY R9

The renewal, upgrading or extension of the infrastructure of utility services providers will be supported where the development:

  1. Contributes towards objectives of economic regeneration or forms part of the planned development of a wider network, and,
  2. Incorporates all reasonable measures to minimise any significant adverse impact on the natural heritage, historic environment, health and communities.
Proposals that would place significant demands upon existing or programmed infrastructure will be resisted.

Main Cross References: SP11, EV2, EV21-31, EV36, EV40, EC1-2, EC20, HC1-4, HC9, HC11-12, HC14-15, HC17-18, HC28-29, CC1

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN5; Draft TAN5, TAN19

SPG:

Amplification

4.4.4.

As a prerequisite to moving towards more sustainable development, all new developments should seek to make the best use of existing and programmed infrastructure. In areas of deficiency, developers may be required to provide a financial contribution towards the improvement and/or expansion of existing infrastructure provision to support the development that they propose.

4.4.5.

The Council will seek to ensure that public utility development is not undertaken at the expense of the natural or historic environment, local communities and health. All reasonable measures must be taken to minimise environmental damage through careful consideration in the selection of development sites, the routing of links and cables, and the use of landscaping, noise attenuation and other mitigation measures. With respect to European designated sites, efforts to ‘minimise’ environmental damage are not acceptable under the Habitats Regulations unless the development accords with Regulation 49 of those Regulations.

4.4.6.

Proposed infrastructure should be reasonably related to the requirements of the area, or form part of an adopted plan for development of the wider network.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

POLICY R10

Applications for planning permission or prior approval for telecommunications development will be considered in the light of technical and operational requirements and will be permitted provided that:

  1. The siting and external appearance of the apparatus has been designed to minimise its visual appearance,
  2. There would be no significant adverse effect on natural heritage and the historic environment,
  3. There would be no significant adverse effect on the amenity of neighbouring residents,
  4. The application is accompanied by evidence of compliance with Government guidelines on health impacts of telecommunications use, and
  5. The benefits and impacts of alternative sites and developments including mast sharing have been investigated.

Main Cross-References: SP11, EV1-2, EV26, EV40

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN19; Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Network Development, WAG

SPG:

Amplification

4.4.7.

Modern telecommunications facilities are an essential and beneficial element of the national economy and in the life of the local community. WAG is committed to facilitating the growth of new and existing telecommunication systems whilst keeping environmental impacts to a minimum. The Council supports this approach and the policy seeks to balance the protection of amenity in urban and rural areas with the needs of telecommunications systems.

4.4.8.

Telecommunication facilities may have special needs and technical considerations, which requires them to be installed in particular locations in order to work effectively. However in sensitive locations the erection of telecommunication towers and antennae can have a significant adverse impact on the quality of the urban and rural environment. Under the provisions of the policy, operators will have to submit evidence that opportunities for mast sharing and alternative sites have been fully explored. Careful siting, design and disguise including landscaping and screening can make developments less obtrusive and enable them to blend in with their surroundings. To assist this, reference should be made to the Joint Accord produced by the Association of National Park Authorities, the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Mobile Phone Network Operators. Reference should also be made to the Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Network Development, 2003. This Code builds on WAG guidance and provides clear and practical advice to ensure the delivery of better and more effective communication and consultation between operators, local authorities and local people.

4.4.9.

There is increasing public concern about the possible health risks posed by telecommunications equipment, particularly the proximity of masts and antennae to housing and schools. The Stewart Report consequently recommends a precautionary approach to the use of mobile phone technologies, and advises that all mobile phone base stations should meet the guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) for limiting the exposure to electromagnetic fields. All operators must therefore include with their applications a statement to certify that the apparatus complies with the ICNIRP guidelines or any other future Government Guidance.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

4.4.10.

The UK Government recognises climate change as the “greatest environmental challenge facing the world today” (DEFRA). Global temperatures are expected to rise over the next 30-40 years, bringing changes in weather patterns, raising sea levels and causing more extreme weather events, such as storms and flooding. Climate change is caused by increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, which act like a blanket around the earth. The primary human influence contributing to climate change is the burning of fossil fuels for energy, releasing CO2 into the air. The UK Government and WAG are committed to a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions below 1990 levels by 2010 and a 60% reduction by 2050 (Environment Strategy for Wales, 2006).

4.4.11.

As the domestic sources of fossil fuels decline, the UK is likely to become more vulnerable to price fluctuations in, and interruptions to, energy supply. Secure, reliable and affordable energy through the diversification of energy supply is therefore seen as a priority. Renewables and the use of small scale distributed energy sources, such as micro-generation, are considered core to this diversification. In support of this WAG aims are to strengthen renewable energy production, and achieve a greater focus on energy efficiency and conservation.

4.4.12.

UK Government policy on renewable energy is set out in the Energy White Paper ‘Our energy future – creating a low carbon economy’ (2003). This establishes a national target of achieving 10% of electricity needs from renewable energy by 2010, increasing to 20% by 2020. In publishing Ministerial Interim Planning Policy Statement (MIIPS) 01/2005 and TAN 8 on Renewable Energy, WAG has established specific renewable electricity production targets of 4TWh per annum to be produced by 2010 and 7TWh per annum by 2020. In order to meet the 2010 target, WAG has identified that 800MW of additional capacity is required to be provided by large scale on-shore wind power with a further 200MW obtained from off-shore wind power and other renewable technologies. No target yet exists at a national or regional level in Wales for microgeneration or production of heat from renewable sources, however renewable energy policies will be reviewed and/or SPG prepared should such targets or guidance be established.

4.4.13.

Renewable energy can be used to generate heat and electricity, and also used for transportation. The technologies associated with renewable energy can range from large-scale commercial developments through to community and domestic schemes. These are developing rapidly with the growing recognition that much more of existing and future energy requirements must be produced from renewable sources.

4.4.14.

In order to achieve the set targets in TAN8, WAG have identified seven Strategic Search Areas (SSAs) around Wales into which all large scale (over 25MW) onshore wind power developments should be concentrated. One such SSA has been identified straddling the upland area between the Swansea and Neath-Port Talbot administrative boundaries (SSA E refers) and this is shown on the Proposals Map. TAN 8 indicates a capacity of 100MW for Area E, although this should not be seen as the definitive capacity, as it is recognised that there may be practical, technical and/or environmental reasons why the capacity may be more or less than that identified. Any development within the SSA will need to be sensitive to local circumstances. SPG will be prepared on large scale onshore wind energy as part of a local refinement exercise.

4.4.15.

The Council supports WAG’s policy for strengthening renewable energy production, and recognises the long-term benefits to be derived from the development of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy technologies can have a positive impact on local communities and the local economy in terms of monetary savings and in generating and underpinning economic development within the County.

4.4.16.

There are however concerns about the impacts that some renewable energy technologies can have on the landscape, local communities, natural heritage and historic environment, nearby land uses and activities. The Council therefore seeks to achieve a balance between supporting renewable energy proposals whilst avoiding significant damage to the environment and its key assets. Favourable consideration will be given to developments that produce or use renewable energy where such proposals conform with UDP policies and are in scale and character with their surroundings. Proposals for onshore wind energy will need to ensure that the adverse impacts of development on landscape character are not significant. This should take into account the cumulative effects of development proposals. As a general rule it will be preferable for onshore wind turbines to be located away from the more environmentally sensitive parts of the County. However each case would be considered on its merits as small turbines may be sited inconspicuously in the landscape.

POLICY R11

Proposals for the provision of renewable energy resources, including ancillary infrastructure and buildings, will be permitted provided:

  1. The social, economic or environmental benefits of the scheme in meeting local, and national energy targets outweigh any adverse impacts,
  2. The scale, form, design, appearance and cumulative impacts of proposals can be satisfactorily incorporated into the landscape, seascape or built environment and would not significantly adversely affect the visual amenity, local environment or recreational/tourist use of these areas,
  3. There would be no significant adverse effect on local amenity, highways, aircraft operations or telecommunications,
  4. There would be no significant adverse effect on natural heritage and the historic environment,
  5. The development would preserve or enhance any conservation areas and not adversely affect listed buildings or their settings,
  6. The development is accompanied by adequate information to indicate the extent of possible environmental effects and how they can be satisfactorily contained and/or mitigated,
  7. The development includes measures to secure the satisfactory removal of structures/related infrastructure and an acceptable after use which brings about a net gain where practically feasible for biodiversity following cessation of operation of the installation.
Proposals for large-scale (over 25MW) onshore wind developments shall be directed to within the Strategic Search Area defined on the Proposals Map subject to consideration of the above criteria.

Main Cross References: SP11, EV1-2, EV20-29, EV31, EV35-36, EV39-40, EC1, HC1-2, HC17, R5, R13

National Planning Guidance: PPW, TANs 8 and 12; MIIPS 01/2005 “Planning for Renewable Energy”

SPG: Sustainable Developers Guide (forthcoming); Energy Guide (forthcoming); Onshore Wind farms (incorporating TAN 8 Annex D Study) (forthcoming)

Amplification

4.4.17.

The inclusion of appropriate renewable energy features in the design of new development will be encouraged, subject to any environmental issues being resolved. Examples of renewable energy technologies include solar panels on buildings to generate electricity or to collect heat for domestic hot water systems, swimming pools, etc, ground source heat pumps, biomass, and small hydro power schemes. The planning controls and considerations, such as noise, odour and visual intrusion, vary across different technologies and between locations. Accordingly, guidance relating to the scale and form of specific renewable technologies will be provided in the forthcoming Energy SPG.

4.4.18.

The integration of energy efficiency and conservation objectives into the planning and design of new and existing development is also encouraged through resource efficient layout, building design, use of materials and construction techniques, optimal use of local topography to maximise solar gain, light penetration and use of shelter vegetation. Where a new development will generate significant energy demands, consideration should be given to the provision of combined heat and power (CHP) systems and district heating schemes to serve the development. A Sustainable Energy Action Plan is currently being prepared for the County, which will review and focus on the capacity to use energy saving technologies and the deployment of renewable energy sources. This Action Plan will inform the preparation of future policy/SPG.

4.4.19.

Developers of proposed renewable energy sources are encouraged to actively consult and engage communities at an early stage and, where possible, ensure the community most affected or where the scheme is to be sited, will gain social, economic and/or environmental benefits proportionate to the development proposed. Planning applications for non-residential buildings over 1000 sq. m should be accompanied by an Energy Design Advice Report, including recommendations relating to energy efficiency and appropriate renewable energy technologies. A response to the report from the developer should also accompany the application.

4.4.20.

Both within and outside the SSA small-scale and domestic (less than 50kW) or community based renewable energy developments (less than 5MW) will be encouraged subject to consideration of the above policy criteria. Such proposals should be of good design, and if sited within the AONB respect the qualities that underlie its designation.

4.4.21.

Proposals for wood fuel systems based on small–scale heating projects, such as community wood chip or pellet burners, have strong local benefits particularly in rural areas where they can assist in the process of rural diversification and will be supported.

4.4.22.

There may be scope for the anaerobic digestion of agricultural wastes and sewage to generate methane for use as a fuel where these are developed in close proximity to arisings. Proposals for the development of anaerobic digestion schemes associated with existing agricultural or large sewage treatment facilities will require consideration to be given to the impact on the local setting, environmental interests and scale of activity.

4.4.23.

Offshore renewable energy developments such as wind farms or tidal power installations have the potential to make significant contributions towards meeting national targets for renewable energy generation, particularly in the long terms. The Council is only a consultee in the decision making process relating to offshore developments, however planning permission may be required for associated onshore infrastructure requirements and installations, which will need to be appropriately sited.

4.4.24.

The satisfactory removal of structures/related infrastructure following cessation of operation will be secured by way of financial guarantees/planning obligations as part of the grant of planning permission.

4.5.

WASTE MANAGEMENT

Objective

  • To ensure the availability of sites and premises for the treatment and recycling and, where necessary, disposal of waste (4.d)
4.5.1.

The Council will seek to adopt a sustainable and integrated approach to waste management in accordance with the National Waste Strategy for Wales and the Council’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy. Where possible, a regional approach may be adopted together with localised or specific waste recycling management initiatives that promote the key principles of:

  1. Best Practical Environmental Option (BPEO),
  2. Regional self sufficiency,
  3. The proximity principle, and
  4. The waste hierarchy.
This complements the Council’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy, which seeks to minimise waste, maximise reuse, recycling and composting with the development of a residual waste treatment facility, which will utilise either Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) and/or waste to energy technologies.
4.5.2.

In 2003-2004 the Council disposed of 63,700 tonnes of household waste, collected through kerbside ‘black bag’ collections, 23,800 tonnes of waste from Civic Amenity sites, 12,900 tonnes of trade waste and some 8,000 tonnes of other municipal waste. The Council either recycled or composted 19.7% (27,800 tonnes) of its municipal waste, compared to a Welsh average of 17.6% during the same period, therefore achieving the national target of recycling/composting at least 15% of municipal waste by 2003/04. Municipal waste however only represents 13% of all waste produced and the policies within the UDP seek to provide guidance for the development of facilities for all waste streams.

4.5.3.

The waste policies contained within the UDP together with the Council’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy and the South West Wales Regional Waste Plan (2003) will form part of an integrated set of measures that will deliver a sustainable approach to waste management. The waste policies are directed towards setting out the types of locations where new waste management facilities may be suitable and criteria against which facilities can be considered as they are brought forward. The Council considers that sufficient land is available on those sites identified under Policy EC1; other sites not identified (‘white’ land) but where it is anticipated that existing B2 uses will continue; and where there are existing waste operations. These will collectively accommodate the estimated future capacities required for the County as contained within the Regional Waste Plan. The South West Wales Regional Waste Plan forms a material consideration when assessing any planning application for waste management facilities in the County. It will be reviewed every three years and the first review is due for publication in 2008. The waste policies within the UDP will be revised accordingly to ensure consistency.

WASTE MANAGEMENT

POLICY R12

Proposals for the development of waste management facilities involving the transfer, treatment, re-use, recycling, in-vessel composting, energy recovery from waste or open composting in farm locations will be assessed against regional and local requirements. Proposals will be permitted within areas designated for B2 industrial use or having the benefit of lawful B2 use provided that there are no significant adverse effects in relation to:

  1. Scale and location,
  2. Public safety,
  3. Amenity,
  4. Transportation,
  5. Visual impact,
  6. Natural heritage and the historic environment, including water quantity and quality and air pollution,
  7. The type, quality and source of waste, and
  8. Relationship to adjoining land uses.
Proposals should conform to the principles of the waste hierarchy and the proximity principle and demonstrate the Best Practical Environmental Option.

Main Cross Reference: SP12, EV1-2, EV21-23, EV25 EV36, EV39- 40, EC1, EC11, R6, R16, AS2

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN15; TAN 21; South West Wales Regional Waste Plan; Hazardous Waste Report: An Addendum to the South West Wales Regional Waste Plan

SPG:

Amplification

4.5.4.

The waste hierarchy is used to advise on waste management options. Following the waste hierarchy the most effective environmental solution is to reduce waste generation. However, where this not practicable, products and materials can often be reused, either for the same or different purposes. Failing that, value should be recovered from waste through recycling or composting, or through energy recovery. Only if none of the above offer an appropriate solution should waste be incinerated without energy recovery, or disposed to landfill. Where waste incineration with energy recovery is the BPEO, the potential for incorporating CHP facilities or co-locating energy from waste schemes with large industrial users should always be considered in order to increase the efficiency of the process.

4.5.5.

Many waste management facilities are not economically viable below a certain size. Therefore, with regard to the proximity principle, for purposes of waste management a regional approach may be adopted in co-operation with neighbouring Councils, in order to ensure as far as possible that all the waste produced in the region is managed within the region. Any proposed development should contribute to the regional framework specified within the Regional Waste Plan. In accordance with national planning policy and the National Waste Strategy for Wales, where it is necessary to transport waste outside the County, the Council encourages the movement of waste by the best environmental means.

4.5.6.

Where proposals for waste management facilities satisfy the above criteria they are more likely to be located in existing or proposed General Industrial (B2) areas unless an assessment of the proposal indicates that more onerous location standards should apply. For example, windrow composting facilities are better suited to be located on farms rather than industrial sites and will be assessed against Policy EC11. Proposals involving the production of recycled or secondary aggregates will be assessed against Policy R6.

4.5.7.

Preferred sites for the development of waste management facilities are existing such facilities, for example the baling plant site at Swansea Enterprise Park, subject to compliance with Policy EV36 (Flood Risk), rather than greenfield sites. Any development at these sites will still be subject to the normal planning process and their identification within the UDP does not infer that planning permission will automatically be granted or that other sites will be excluded from consideration.

4.5.8.

The Council is taking the next step in the process to provide new and efficient ways of dealing with municipal waste. The Council is currently undertaking a procurement process for both a medium and long term municipal waste solution including measures to deal with residual waste which can not be economically recycled or composted. Any long term solution is unlikely to be up and running for several years, which means the Council has to provide a mediumterm facility in order to meet statutory targets to divert waste from landfill. A key part of this process is the identification of suitable sites for waste management. Sites currently under consideration benefit from lawful B2 use and as such would not normally be identified on the Proposals Map, but also for confidentiality and commercial reasons during the procurement process may not be named at this time.

4.5.9.

Proposals for energy from waste facilities should be able to either link into the National Grid or provide heat and power for local communities or large industrial users close to the facility. An EIA must be submitted for all applications falling within Schedule 1 of the EIA Regulations and, where appropriate, will be requested for any development falling within Schedule 2. The EA will be consulted on all applications for waste management facilities.

LANDFILL SITES

POLICY R13

Proposals for new, or the extension of existing, landfill sites will only be permitted where:

  1. It can be clearly demonstrated that additional capacity is required,
  2. Other options for the re-use and recovery of materials have been considered and are not economically or environmentally feasible,
  3. It can clearly be demonstrated that:
  1. The site is not within an area at high risk of flooding (Zone C2) as defined by TAN 15, or
  2. Where the development is within Zone C1 the consequences of an extreme flood event can be acceptably managed, and
  1. There would be no significant adverse effect on:
  1. The natural heritage, cultural and historic environment,
  2. The geology and hydrogeology of the site,
  3. Controlled waters, including water quality and quantity,
  4. The amenities of neighbouring occupiers, including the affects of traffic mo4vement and the generation of noise, dust and fumes,
  5. The highway network,
  6. Public safety,
  7. The visual amenity of the site, and
  8.  The proposal will not result in the permanent loss of Grades 1, 2 or 3a agricultural land.
The method of restoration on completion of the landfill process and the proposed afteruse will need to form part of the landfill proposal.

Main Cross Reference: SP12, EV2, EV21-23, EV25 EV34, EV40, EC1, EC13, R11, AS2

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN15,TAN 21

SPG: ‘Crymlyn Action Plan’ Nature Conservancy Council and City of Swansea

Amplification

4.5.10.

The European Directive on the landfilling of waste introduces stringent targets for the reduction of biodegradable municipal waste that is disposed via landfill and prohibits the landfill of some categories of waste. It also requires that all wastes be treated prior to landfill and sets out landfill location requirements. There is thus a requirement to move away from landfill towards recycling, reuse and composting, although landfill is likely to form a significant part of waste management in the short term. This need will continue to a lesser extent in the long term until alternative facilities are established. Tir John, the last remaining landfill site for the disposal of municipal waste within the County, temporarily closed in 2005 pending an appeal to refuse a PPC permit and wastes are temporarily being transported outside the County for landfill. Proposals for the restoration of Tir John when operations are finally completed are specified in the Crymlyn Action Plan and a detailed implementation plan is being prepared.

4.5.11.

An EIA must be submitted for all applications falling within Schedule 1 of the EIA Regulations and, where appropriate, will be requested for any development falling within Schedule 2.

4.5.12.

Proposals for new landfill sites will be evaluated in the context of other waste management options and in relation to the criteria set out in Policy R13. Where appropriate and feasible developers may be required to enter into a S106 Agreement to ensure that proposals include measures to generate energy from landfill gas where methane might otherwise escape into the atmosphere. Ensuring that the restoration and aftercare of a completed landfill site (or cell) takes place to a standard agreed by the Council will also be secured via a S106 Agreement.

SPECIAL / HAZARDOUS WASTE

POLICY R14

Development for the disposal, processing and storage of special/hazardous waste will only be permitted where there would be no significant adverse effect on:

  1. Natural heritage and the historic environment,
  2. The health and safety of the public, neighbouring land uses and residential amenity.

Main Cross Reference: SP12, EV2, EV21-29, EV36, EV38-40

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN15; TAN21; Regional Waste Plan for the South West Wales Region; Report on Hazardous Waste: Addendum to the South West Wales Regional Waste Plan

SPG:

Amplification

4.5.13.

In 2003 Hazardous Waste arisings in the County accounted for approximately 30% of all the South West Wales Regional Hazardous Waste arisings. The majority of these wastes emanated from a single source and most of this waste is exported for final treatment/disposal because of the need for specialist facilities, the economies of scale and the inappropriateness of locating hazardous facilities in proximity to densely populated areas or the AONB. An addendum report to the South West Wales Regional Waste Plan identifies locational criteria that will guide future proposals for hazardous waste treatment and disposal facilities. There have been a number of recent and significant regulatory changes in relation to hazardous waste legislation and these have affected, and will continue to affect, the amount and nature of hazardous waste and the ways in which it will be managed. However, uncertainty about the combined effects of all these regulatory changes has resulted in uncertainty about facility types/ required capacities for dealing with hazardous waste and the commercial viability of any new facilities. In light of the limitations identified in the hazardous waste report it is considered that a regional approach in respect of the disposal and treatment of hazardous waste will continue.

CIVIC AMENITY SITES AND LOCAL FACILITIES

POLICY R15

Proposals for the development of neighbourhood facilities for the reception of household waste for recycling purposes (civic amenity sites or ‘bringsites’) will be permitted where:

  1. The general location of the proposed development would have no significant adverse effect on the amenities of neighbouring occupiers, including the affect of traffic movements and the generation of noise, dust, fumes, litter and light,
  2. There would be no significant adverse environmental impact, particularly on water quality and quantity,
  3. The development would have no significant adverse effect on the visual amenities of the area,
  4. The local traffic circulation systems are satisfactory, and safe access can be achieved,
  5. The design of any structures are to an acceptable standard and boundary treatment is provided,
  6. The quality of the boundary treatment, such as fences and screening, are designed to a high standard and appropriate to the location of the site.

Main Cross Reference: SP12, EV1-2, EV21-23, EV25, EC1, HC1- 2, AS2

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 21

SPG:

Amplification

4.5.14.

Neighbourhood facilities need to be conveniently located either within or easily accessible from residential areas. Proposals for further Civic Amenity Sites to receive bulky household waste, or facilities intended to serve more than the immediate neighbourhood will be similarly assessed, but may by reason of scale, amenity and traffic impact be inappropriate within a residential area. Industrial, redundant and brownfield sites or waste management facilities should be used in preference to greenfield sites.

MAJOR NEW DEVELOPMENT WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITIES

POLICY R16

Proposals for major new developments will be required to incorporate adequate and effective waste management facilities.

Main Cross Reference: SP12, EV21-23, EC1, EC4, EC8-9, HC1, R12

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN21; Wise About Waste: The National Waste Strategy for Wales; Regional Waste Plan for the South West Wales Region

SPG:

Amplification

4.5.16.

When assessing proposals for major new developments, the provision of waste management facilities for the collection, recycling and other management of all waste likely to be generated must be included. Such developments should therefore include details of the means of waste collection and proposals for waste minimisation and recycling. Developers will be required to consult with the Council’s Waste Management Team to ascertain the extent and nature of facilities needed to deal with any potential municipal waste arisings associated with the proposed development.

AGRICULTURAL LAND – IMPORTED WASTE

POLICY R17

Proposals for the deposit of imported waste materials for the improvement of low-grade agricultural land will only be permitted where:

  1. It can be demonstrated that the improvement sought is reasonably necessary for the purpose of agriculture within the holding, and
  2. The materials used are inert, and
  3. The volume of waste to be deposited is the minimum necessary to achieve the improvement sought, and
  4. There are no significant adverse impacts on nature conservation resources of acknowledged concern, and
  5. It can be demonstrated that the existing site is not at risk of flooding.

Main Cross References: SP12, EV21-23, EV35-36, EV39, EC1, EC13

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN5; Draft TAN5, TAN15; TAN 21

SPG:

Amplification

4.5.17.

This policy is aimed at restricting waste disposal on agricultural land that may not be for genuine agricultural improvement, but as a means of avoiding payment of landfill tax. It does not apply to the application of organic material (sewage products, composts etc) to agricultural land for the purposes of soil improvement / fertilising / conditioning which does not require prior notification under the GPDO 1995 Part 6 (Waste Deposition Procedure).

4.5.18.

Proposals, which are based on the improvement of land quality, land drainage or other related matters on agricultural land comprised within an agricultural unit, will be considered as ‘agricultural development’. Any planning application for waste disposal on agricultural land must be accompanied by a land classification survey and the Council will have regard to the advice of the EA, as a statutory consultee.

4.5.19.

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