What we're trying to achieve

[3.28.01] We will safeguard minerals of economic importance from being sterilised by non-mineral development. Minerals Safeguarding Areas are a way of protecting proven deposits of minerals which are, or may become, of economic value.

Policy 28: Minerals Safeguarding Areas

Planning permission will be granted for non-mineral development within Minerals Safeguarding Areas where:

  • the location of the proposal relates to a settlement recognised by Policy 02; or
  • the proposal can demonstrate that it will not affect the overall value of the mineral resource; or
  • the mineral can be extracted satisfactorily prior to the development taking place; or
  • the development is of a temporary nature, can be completed and the site restored to a condition that does not inhibit extraction within the timescale that the mineral is likely to be needed; or
  • there is an overriding need for the development.

Implementation guidance

[3.28.06] We will apply the above policy in all land use and spatial planning decisions where an application for non-mineral development is proposed within defined Minerals Safeguarding Areas.

[3.28.07] Policy 02: Spatial Strategy aims to enable development to support and maintain the vibrancy and sustainability of settlements and reinforce the distinct character which is recognised as one of the ‘Special Qualities’ of the Lake District. For this reason, where a development proposal is in line with Policy 02 – and where the proposed development is within or well related to the form of the settlement – Minerals Safeguarding Areas do not apply. This will ensure there is no conflict with the aspirations of our spatial strategy.

[3.28.08] In order to demonstrate that development will not affect the overall value of the mineral resource, we will consider amongst other things:

  • the scale of the proposed development;
  • how the development relates to an existing use/development;
  • the proximity of the proposed development in relation to existing and/or old mineral sites;
  • any cumulative impact of the proposed and other development on the  economic value of the safeguarded mineral in its wider context; and
  • the statutory purposes of the National Park.

Current situation

[3.28.02] The Lake District has a complex and varied geology and is rich in mineral resources. The Lake District landscape was formed through 500 million years of geological processes, when the climatic conditions periodically underwent great changes. Slate, crystalline rocks, limestone, coal and red sandstone constituted the basic layers, with the formation of a central dome through volcanic intrusion about 280 million years ago.

[3.28.03] Minerals can only be worked where they occur, there is significant pressure on land for a variety of development uses, so it is crucial our approach ensures future access to minerals is not restricted by non-mineral development.

[3.27.04] Minerals Safeguarding Areas identify where known locations of mineral resources exist. Using Mineral Resource Linework digital data provided by the British Geological Survey, we have defined the physical extent of the Minerals Safeguarding Areas (see Figure 15). The following specific minerals resources are considered to be of local and national economic importance and have informed the Minerals Safeguarding Areas:

  • slates
  • igneous and metamorphic (granites)
  • limestone
  • sand and gravel

[3.28.05] There is no presumption that applications to extract the mineral resources defined in Minerals Safeguarding Areas will be granted permission. Neither does a Minerals Safeguarding Area automatically preclude other forms of development. What it does, is draw attention to the presence of important mineral resources and make sure that they are adequately and effectively considered in land-use planning decisions.

Map showing the area of the site allocation

Figure 15: Extent of Minerals Safeguarding Areas