The National Planning Policy Framework sets out planning policies designed to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in a wide range of sectors, ranging from land use to communications, from 2021 to 2030.
Section 17 of the Framework covers the sustainable use of minerals, seeking to ensure the supply of minerals, secure their long-term conservation and promote sustainable development practices. This includes indicating that planning policies should:
- Take account of the contribution that substitute or secondary and recycled materials and minerals waste would make to the supply of materials;
- Encourage the prior extraction of minerals, where practical and environmentally feasible, if it is necessary for non-mineral development to take place;
- Set out criteria or requirements to ensure that permitted and proposed operations do not have unacceptable adverse impacts on the natural and historic environment or human health;
- Ensure that worked land is reclaimed at the earliest opportunity, with high quality restoration and aftercare of mineral development sites.
It also mentions that minerals planning authorities should plan for a steady and adequate supply of industrial minerals by encouraging cooperation with other countries. The Framework further indicates the use of stockpiling of minerals to ensure the stability of the supply, and outlines the need for assessments to better plan for future mineral use in the industry.