Hertfordshire County Council is the Mineral Planning Authority for the county and is responsible for minerals planning. The council has a duty to prepare and review its minerals planning documents. The current Minerals Local Plan 2002 - 2016 was adopted on 27 March 2007. The county council also has an adopted Mineral Consultation Area's Supplementary Planning Document which sits alongside the Minerals Local Plan. It is used to protect sand and gravel resources from non-minerals development, making them inaccessible for extraction or introducing development which is not compatible with mineral extraction nearby.
Minerals are an important natural resource which make an essential contribution to the nation’s prosperity and quality of life. Sand, gravel, crushed rock, chalk and clay all provide the construction industry with the raw materials required for constructing and maintaining roads, buildings and other infrastructure. Minerals such as coal, oil and gas are essential sources of energy and enable the production of electricity and heat. Minerals are also essential elements in the production of a variety of other products. An adequate and steady supply of minerals is essential if current standards of living are to be maintained in society as well as meeting basic needs for quality of life, such as shelter.
The Minerals Local Plan ensures that minerals policies which are used to inform decisions on minerals planning applications in the county are relevant to the situation in Hertfordshire. The Minerals Local Plan sets out the development planning framework for future minerals extraction and associated development whilst providing for environmental protection. This plays an important role in providing certainty and consistency for both industry and the general public.
The county council also has a duty to produce a Local Aggregate Assessment to monitor aggregate production and plan for a steady and adequate supply of aggregates in Hertfordshire.
All of the existing mineral policies are saved until the adopted Minerals Local Plan is reviewed and are used to determine mineral planning applications.