Surrey Minerals Plan

As some of you may know, I’ve written to the Council asking for them to withdraw their Surrey Minerals Plan . New government legislation gives the Council a golden opportunity to reduce the level of mineral production in the county and resulting disruption to the local environment and the peace and quiet of local residents – because it abolishes the regional spatial strategies which the Council has previously argued forced minerals targets upon it. The spirit of the new legislation clearly looks to give due weight to local opinion – it aims to give far greater local discretion over planning matters and states that plans should reflect local aspirations. As the previous consultation on the Minerals Plan quite clearly highlights, this opposition exists. The national targets which were the excuse given previously for the Plan are no longer in place and so residents should be consulted on the Plan and its proposals again, based on the new justification for such a plan and set in a new context by the Council. To carry on without any alteration or fresh consultation is grossly unfair, and I really don’t think it’s “taking account of local concerns” as the Plan should do. Overall, the currently submitted Plan is a threat to the Green Belt and the local environment. This is an essential part of what makes Surrey such a great place to live and work, and something which the vast majority of us care deeply about. I am fully aware that creating the current Plan has involved a great deal of time and effort from the Council, and I understand their need to provide a clear framework for the future of minerals production in Surrey. But I think a review makes sense. To give local people the voice that the new Government legislation explicitly calls for, and to adjust the Plan to take account of this new people-led process.