Members of the public and organisations are being given a further chance to comment on proposed changes to the publication draft of the Minerals and Waste Joint Plan.

The plan, which is published jointly by North Yorkshire County Council, the North York Moors National Park Authority and City of York Council, includes robust protection measures for residents and the environment to guide future minerals and waste planning applications for developments such as fracking.

This further consultation gives people the opportunity to comment on proposed changes to the plan which provide greater clarity on policy content for minerals and waste development and environmental protection measures.

The plan still includes an extended buffer zone to protect residential locations as well as environmentally important places such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, nature conservation areas and important historic sites.

Once given final approval, the Minerals and Waste Joint Plan will become the key reference for planning decisions for development for the next 15 years.

This will include development such as new or extended quarries and new waste management facilities such as recycling and treatment centres. The Plan will also include policies regarding hydraulic fracturing for shale gas (fracking) as well as conventional gas.

Measures agreed in the plan make sure a high level of protection is provided to local communities and the environment when planning applications for these forms of development are being considered.

The changes for comment are included in an Addendum of Proposed Changes before the plan is submitted for Public Examination. The proposed changes provide points of factual updates or points of clarification only.

“This plan has been over four years in the making, and will become the bible for guiding future planning decisions,” said County Councillor Andrew Lee, executive member for Planning”.  “It has been amended and refined over this period by taking into account responses from extensive consultation.

“These points of clarification are intended to strengthen the protection to the environment and landscape of our beautiful county and the health and wellbeing of our residents.  The measures in the plan extend the protection already provided in national policy.  We are now giving people the chance to make further representations on our plan in a consultation.”

Chris France, Director of Planning for the North York Moors National Park Authority said; “The changes have been jointly agreed by all three authorities to provide a robust policy framework which will ensure that future minerals and waste developments are undertaken in a way that safeguards the world class environment of North Yorkshire and the interests of its residents and businesses.

Councillor Ian Gillies, City of York executive member for Transport and Planning, said: “These changes would strengthen our approach to protecting York’s communities.

“Most of the amendments simply offer clarity for everyone involved; planners, applicants and our communities. Ultimately, they would make our policy more enforceable during the planning application process.”