Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton

Minerals and Waste Local Plan:
Adopted December 1998



Landfilling and Landraising

Main Contents Page

Need for Waste Facilities

Clinical Waste

6. Meeting the Need for Waste Management

Non-Inert Waste Scenarios

Scrapyards

General Considerations

Inert Waste Scenarios

Waste Water (Sewage) and Sewage Sludge

Waste Arisings

Landfilling and Landraising

Ancillary Waste Development

Waste Minimisation and Recycling

Waste Processing

 

Resource Recovery

Difficult and Special Waste

 

6.52 Landfilling is the only type of waste disposal activity which is unavoidable and is not optional. There will always be a significant element of the waste stream which cannot be recycled or processed for resource recovery. At present this comprises the majority of waste and this is expected to remain the case throughout the Plan period, despite significantly increased levels of waste reduction. In any case, resource recovery waste processing systems produce residues which can only be disposed of by landfilling.

6.53 The Councils believe that, as far as is practicable, landfilling should only be used as a means of waste disposal within Hampshire for that waste which cannot be avoided or recycled and which cannot be processed through a resource recovery plant. Consequently, permission will normally only be granted for disposal of waste by landfilling if there is no other practicable way in which it can be dealt with. This should encourage the minimisation and recycling of waste and the use of resource recovery plants. In assessing need, the availability of alternative facilities in the area at the time will be taken into account by the Waste Planning Authorities when determining planning applications. In this way, landfill capacity will be conserved for the disposal of non-recycled inert (Category A) waste, non recycled or recovered non-inert (Category B and C) waste and non-inert process residues (e.g. incinerator ash). In assessing the need for additional landfill capacity, the Waste Planning Authorities will have regard to the forecasts of need for additional landfill provision set out in paragraphs 6.33 to 6.51, taking into account the results from the monitoring of waste disposal need indicators that will be carried out. In addition, the Waste Planning Authorities will take into consideration the likely availability of permitted void space for landfilling on a year-by-year basis over the plan period, having regard to such factors as: past input rates to sites; planning and licence restrictions on inputs; estimated and required site completion dates; and other specific availability factors. A regular assessment of void space availability will be carried out, as new data becomes available, in parallel with the monitoring of waste disposal need indicators and re-assessment of need for additional landfill provision.



6.54 The Councils consider that landfilling is normally only appropriate where it takes place within mineral workings at which benefits would be gained from infilling. Infilling with suitable waste materials can often be a way of achieving the satisfactory restoration of mineral workings. The use of mineral workings for landfilling is preferred because it minimises the total amount of land disturbed by minerals and waste operations and it involves the use of sites which usually are already screened and have suitable access. In addition, it enables the positive use of waste to restore areas to a state capable of beneficial use.

6.55 Infilling of current and new mineral workings, and former workings that are unsatisfactorily restored, with suitable waste materials will, therefore, normally be permitted where the infilling would benefit the restoration of the site. The surcharging (doming) of sites to above original ground levels may be permitted in the interests of securing satisfactory site drainage and restoration. Permission will normally only be granted where there is a need for the additional landfill capacity and, in the case of active mineral workings, where the rate of infilling would be commensurate with the rate of extraction such that the minimum area is open and unrestored at any time. Landfilling will not normally be permitted at former mineral workings that have been satisfactorily restored at low level unless there would be an overall environmental benefit for the site.

6.56 The currently operational Blue Haze sandpit and the adjoining worked-out and unrestored Chatsworth sandpit, within Ringwood Forest, is included as a preferred area for landfilling in Policy 38. Notwithstanding the identification of this site as a preferred area for landfilling that is potentially suitable for non-inert waste, the precise nature of the wastes that would be permitted to be disposed of at the site is a matter that would be covered by a waste management licence and which could only be determined when an application is submitted. However, should this site be considered suitable for non-inert landfill, the exploitation and collection of landfill gas may be a viable proposition. The Waste Planning Authorities would generally expect landfill gas to be collected for beneficial use where it is practical and environmentally acceptable to do so. The site has an estimated total void space of approximately 4.0 million cubic metres, although only approximately 3.0 million cubic metres of this space is expected to be available for non-inert waste. However, it is recognised that the site is in the extreme south west of the County and therefore is not best located to serve the main urban areas where the majority of waste arises. Nevertheless, the site is close to (and has good access from) the A31 and can therefore readily be reached from other parts of the County via the lorry route network.

6.57 Whilst there is no need for additional sites for the disposal of inert waste by landfilling to be identified in the Plan for the period to 2001, the Waste Planning Authority considers that most of the preferred areas for sand and gravel extraction listed in Policy 19 would be suitable for backfilling with waste materials, either in total or in part, following mineral extraction. In many cases infilling of the mineral working void would be desirable in order to ensure restoration to satisfactory ground levels. In any case, these preferred areas mainly provide for sand and gravel extraction that will take place after 2001, by which time there will be a need for new landfill sites.

6.58 The following preferred areas for sand and gravel extraction are considered to be potentially suitable for the disposal of waste by landfilling following mineral working:

Only inert (Category A) waste materials will be permitted to be used for infilling at Preferred Areas 1, 2 and 3 and such a restriction may also be imposed on other preferred areas (see Paragraph 5.43).

6.59 Preferred Area 2 - Bramshill Plateau is adjacent to Blackbushe Airport and any backfilling of the workings will be restricted to inert waste only. Preferred Areas 8 and 9 - Selborne Brickworks and Michelmersh Brickworks, for clay extraction, are not suitable for infilling with waste materials because of the additional lorry traffic that this would generate on narrow country roads.

6.60 The identification of these sand and gravel preferred areas as being potentially suitable for backfilling with waste materials does not mean that permission for landfilling will automatically be granted. The suitability of a mineral working site for waste disposal and the nature of the waste that would be acceptable at the site are matters that can only be fully assessed at the planning application stage, when full details of the characteristics of the site and the proposals for mineral working and restoration are known. The precise nature of the waste materials that would be permitted to be disposed of at a site is a matter that would be covered by a waste management licence and which could only be determined when an application is submitted.

6.61 Landraising means the raising of levels above original, or previously existing, ground levels by the deposit of waste materials. In the case of the deposit of waste above original or previously existing ground levels at mineral working sites, known as surcharging, landraising excludes that which is required to achieve satisfactory levels for land drainage purposes or to achieve a restored landform which satisfactorily fits into the local landscape. For clarification, landraising does not include the spreading of sewage sludge on agricultural land. The Councils consider landraising generally to be the most undesirable form of waste disposal because of the adverse environmental impact it has on otherwise undisturbed land and the permanent change to the landscape that it causes. Therefore, landraising will normally only be permitted in exceptional circumstances, where the need for landfill capacity cannot be met by the infilling of mineral workings and there is no other reasonably practicable means of disposal available. Where there is an established need for landraising, proposals will be considered against criteria (iii) - (vi) of Policy 37. In particular, land raising may be permitted where it is in accordance with Policies 40 or 41.

6.62 The Councils consider landraising generally to be the least desirable waste management option, which should normally only be permitted in exceptional circumstances. However, in the event that there is a demonstrated need for further landfill provision which cannot practicably be met by infilling of mineral workings, the Councils will expect such need to be met by landraising or extension of technically suitable existing landfill sites rather than by landraising of greenfield sites. In view of the current large permitted void space within Hampshire for the landfilling of inert waste, it is most unlikely that such a need will arise during the Plan period in the case of inert waste. In the case of non-inert waste, the Councils will not normally support landraising or extension of existing landfill sites unless the monitoring of waste disposal need indicators carried out by the Councils (see paragraph 6.49) shows a requirement for additional landfill provision and this cannot practicably be met by the infilling of mineral workings or it can be demonstrated that the waste would otherwise be disposed of at an out-of-county site.

6.63 The deposit of waste materials, usually soil and subsoil, is often used as a means of improving the quality of agricultural land, particularly where land drainage can be improved by the raising of levels. This is a form of landraising. Although such operations are normally small scale and short lived, they often cause adverse environmental impact which is out of proportion to the quantity of waste involved. This type of waste disposal has caused the loss of areas of nature conservation interest, particularly wetland areas, and landscape change for relatively small agricultural gains. In view of the current surplus of agricultural land, the justification for this form of agricultural land improvement is very questionable. Therefore the Councils will not normally support these waste disposal operations unless: they are genuinely required for the purposes of agricultural land improvement; the operations would be completed within a limited period (which should not normally exceed three years); the proposed extent and depth of deposited material is the minimum required to secure the land improvement; the deposited materials would comprise inert waste only; and the operations would not have any unacceptable environmental, traffic or other impact.

6.64 There is a need for sites for the disposal of silt dredged from the Basingstoke Canal. The County Council considers that the most acceptable way of disposing of this material is by landfilling or landraising at environmentally suitable sites alongside the Canal. In that way the minimum of disturbance would be caused by movement of the silt.

6.65 Major construction projects, such as road building schemes, often give rise to large quantities of waste or unsuitable material - mainly excavated material removed from the construction site - over short periods of time. This waste has to be disposed of. County Structure Plan Policy MW11 provides for the disposal of surplus or waste materials from major construction projects at sites close to the project concerned where the need for disposal capacity cannot reasonably and satisfactorily be met by existing permitted waste disposal sites. Any proposals for this type of waste disposal will be considered in relation to the criteria in Policy 41.

6.66 The Councils are generally opposed to the establishment of new landfilling or landraising sites specifically to serve construction projects. Nevertheless, it is recognised that there are circumstances where the use of such sites is the most appropriate way of providing for the disposal of waste material arising from the construction works. This is particularly likely to be the case where: it minimises the number of people, buildings, settlements and public roads affected by the concentration of lorry movements; it minimises the distance involved in moving waste from the construction site to the waste disposal facility; and waste disposal requirements are met without using up Hampshire's stock of permitted waste disposal void space. The Councils believe that the disposal of surplus or waste material from major construction projects like new roads should be planned as part of the scheme's design. The formulation of proposals and submission of applications for waste disposal sites at the contract tender stage is considered to be unsatisfactory as it often provides insufficient time for proposals and possible alternatives to be fully evaluated. The County Planning Officers' and County Surveyors' Societies Code of Practice - 'Disposal of Spoil from Major Highway Construction Schemes' (1990) gives guidance on the timing and content of applications for the disposal of surplus waste.

6.67 Concern has grown in recent years over the possible adverse environmental effects of waste disposal by landfilling and landraising, especially the pollution of surface and groundwater and the production and migration of landfill gas. The Waste Planning Authorities will not permit landfilling or landraising where they consider that there would be a significant risk of pollution or other unacceptable environmental effects. In particular, the landfilling of putrescible waste within floodplains will not be permitted. In assessing proposals for such possible effects, the Waste Planning Authorities will have particular regard to the views and advice of the Environment Agency.

6.68 In considering proposals for landfilling (including landraising) the Waste Planning Authorities will have particular regard to the advice on landfill applications set out in PPG23 'Planning and Pollution Control' (1994). They will also take into account the advice on new landfill sites contained in DoE Circular 17/89 'Landfill Sites - Development Control' (1989), particularly in relation to proposals involving non-inert waste which may lead to the generation of landfill gas. In this connection, the Waste Planning Authorities will have regard to the 250 metre distance for consultation with the Environment Agency on proposals for development near landfill sites which are likely to emit gas, as specified in the Town and Country Planning (General Development Procedure) Order 1995.

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