A new Waste Planning Policy for England has been published, replacing Planning Policy Statement 10. The revised policy requires waste planning authorities to promote treatment of waste up the waste hierarchy.
The new policy follows publication of the Waste Management Plan for England in December 2013 and was issued on the same date as the government's response to its consultation on an updated planning policy on waste. Accompanying planning practice guidance on waste has also been published.
All local planning authorities should have regard to the Waste Planning Policy when discharging their waste management responsibilities and there is an increased emphasis on waste prevention and recycling. The Waste Planning Policy provides that waste planning authorities should:
Use a proportionate evidence base
- plan for waste management in Local Plans based on robust analysis of best available data and information. Further detail is given in the guidance, including how to assess existing waste management capacity, forecast waste arisings, use data to monitor and forecast waste needs and identify suitable sites and areas
Identify need for waste management facilities
- share information with other planning authorities on waste arisings
- engage with local communities at an early stage
- drive waste management up the waste hierarchy, recognising the need for a mix of types and scale of facilities
- work collaboratively to provide a suitable network of facilities to deliver sustainable waste management
- consider the need for additional waste management capacity to reflect any requirement for waste management facilities identified nationally
Identify suitable sites and areas
- prepare Local Plans that identify suitable sites and areas to meet the needs of their area for waste management - sites outside of the green belt should be prioritised
- plan for disposal and recovery of waste in line with the proximity principle so that facilities serve areas large enough to secure economic viability
- consider opportunities for on-site waste management
- consider a broad range of locations including industrial sites and consider co-location with complementary activities
- consider the need for waste management facilities alongside other spatial and environmental planning concerns, including neighbouring land use, transport infrastructure and well-being of the local community
Determine planning applications
- only require demonstration of need for new or enhanced facilities where proposals are not consistent with the Local Plan
- where the Local Plan is cut-across require demonstration of how facilities do not undermine the objectives of the Local Plan
- consider impact on local environment and amenity and advice from relevant health bodies
- ensure that waste management facilities are well designed and contribute positively to the character and quality of the area
- assume that relevant pollution controls will be properly applied and enforced
- require restoration to beneficial use and high environmental standards by use of appropriate conditions
Monitor and report
- monitor and report on located sites and areas, waste management facility stock and capacity, waste arisings and amounts of waste recycled, recovered or going for disposal
The revised policy sets out a useful framework which will help planning authorities understand how they should approach applications for waste sites and will help developers understand how applications are likely to be dealt with.
In unveiling the new policy the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government stated that the new policy has:
' ...strengthened the policy to set out a positive policy framework for planning for waste, and its contribution to sustainable development objectives. We have also emphasised in policy the importance of early and meaningful engagement with local communities, along side an expectation that waste planning authorities should work collaboratively with each other and their district authorities in managing waste needs, consistent with the statutory duty to co-operate.'
The new policy is also consistent with other recent statements by the government which demonstrate a commitment to protecting the Green Belt from development. As such when preparing Local Plans, waste planning authorities must work collaboratively with other planning authorities to first look for suitable sites and areas outside the Green Belt. In support of that approach, the reference in previous policy that waste planning authorities should give significant weight to locational need and wider environmental and economic benefits when considering waste planning applications in the Green Belt has been removed. Inappropriate development in the Green Belt should only be approved in 'very special circumstances', in any event.