The Bengeo Field could be dropped as a Preferred Area for gravel extraction when the next Mineral Local Plan is adopted in 2019.
Herts County Council will meet on Thursday 7th September to discuss recommendations for areas to be included in the forthcoming draft plan for the county. The Council’s planning team have proposed four options, recommending an option that does not include Bengeo Field or Rickneys. If endorsed, this would mean that these areas are not included in MLP, and are not “preferred areas for quarrying”!
The further formal process needs to go through a number of stages: The recommendation is submitted to the Environment Cabinet Panel of elected County Councillors. If accepted, the recommendation goes then to the Cabinet. If the Cabinet decide to endorse the recommendation then it officially becomes HCC DRAFT Minerals and Waste Plan (the key formal decision point). The draft plan then goes to full council towards the end of the year after which it is the official plan for the county until 2031. It is a slow process but it would mean that the future applications have much less chance for approval.
From the HCC document (available on the HCC website):
13. Recommended Site Option
13.1. Having considered the conclusions of reports and assessments undertaken, on balance the most appropriate option to take forward to the Draft Minerals Local Plan is Option 4. Option 4 comprises Furze Field, Hatfield Aerodrome, Land Adjoining Coopers Green Lane (all three being specific sites) and Briggens Estate (as a preferred area). This option would provide:
• The necessary tonnage to meet the plan requirement
• Flexibility in regards to timing of sites coming forward
• The identification of specific sites, preferred areas and/or areas of search (in order of priority) in line with national policy.