Mineral safeguarding is the practice of protecting future mineral extraction areas from 'sterilisation' by permission for other types of development. The process that Mineral Planning Authorities should follow to ensure safeguarding is properly considered is, broadly, to identify mineral resources, define Mineral Safeguarding Areas (MSAs) and then define policies that can be used to manage development in these areas.
The requirements on Mineral Planning Authorities to take into account the need to 'safeguard' have historically been contained in the national planning policy document Minerals Policy Statement 1: Planning and minerals (MPS1) L0216 and continue in the National Planning Policy Framework published on 27th March 2012 L0566.
'A guide to mineral safeguarding in England' was published by the BGS in October 2007, in response to the apparent need among a number of mineral planning authorities (MPAs) for advice on how to delineate MSAs. This addressed the identification of mineral resources, the delineation of MSAs, and policies that could be used in core strategy documents. A review of the safeguarding process in 2009 highlighted the need for further practical advice to assist MPAs in defining MSAs, and both MPAs and Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) in drafting development management policies for MSAs.
The guide has now been revised, and the replacement document 'Mineral safeguarding in England: good practice advice' has been published by the British Geological Survey L0592. The new guide contains case studies which illustrate safeguarding approaches that have been used, drawing on the practical experience of planners who have developed mineral safeguarding policies. It covers the identification of mineral resources and delineation of MSAs in development plans, and the approach to development management policies through which safeguarding might take effect. The example policies in the advice document include exemption criteria so that non-sterilising development in MSAs can proceed quickly and efficiently, and policies which introduce the concept of a mineral assessment which may be submitted with a planning application at the discretion of LPAs / MPAs.