Carter Jonas
Carter Jonas

Roads expansion an opportunity for land owners

In light of the Government announcing significant spending proposals within the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, both landowners and the UK construction industry can take some comfort in the proposals outlined as part of investment under the Road Investment Strategy and National Infrastructure Plan (NIP).

Details confirmed to date under the collective proposals include 100 road schemes featuring a total of £15bn spending on adding 1,300 new lane miles on motorway and trunk roads and other roadway improvements. Further commitment is offered to build some 55,000 new homes annually up to 2020, which includes for 13,000 homes in a new garden city on the outskirts of Bicester.

With such additional demands for built development comes a proportionate increase in demand for the supply of mineral feedstock and construction materials.

As far back as 2011, independent research undertaken by Carter Jonas demonstrated the shortfalls across England and Wales in mineral land banks (i.e. accumulated mineral reserves permitted for extraction) for sand and gravel and crushed rock. The south of England in particular featured numerous geographical regions where land banks of permitted mineral reserves fell significantly beneath the requirement promoted by national planning policy guidance.

More recently, UK trade body the Mineral Products Association (MPA) reported a similar ongoing shortfall in the available supply of minerals along with a number of other key concerns that include:

  • The number of planning applications for new reserves remaining low, with the number of planning permissions lapsing exceeding permissions granted.

  • Despite that low number of planning applications being presented, determination times by Mineral Planning Authorities continue to rise. Around 90% of all mineral applications ultimately submitted prove to be successful.
  • The greater proportion of new permissions granted since 2006 were for sites that were not allocated in mineral plans.

  • Very few significant aggregate-producing regions have complete development frameworks in place. As at October 2014, only 24 mineral planning authorities in England had a complete adopted mineral development framework and of those only 10 were significant contributors to mineral supply. Entirely missing from that number are the major producers, including Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Somerset.

From the perspective of land and mineral owners, the shortfall in supply is an opportunity to promote mineral prospects for exploitation and development. Inferred or known deposits of mineral in proximity to active markets for development should be readily considered for further investigation as permitted mineral reserves offer a valuable asset to the mineral owner at the point of exploitation.

The Carter Jonas Minerals & Waste Management Team advises land and mineral owners across the United Kingdom as to the potential of their interests and the best strategy for delivering prospects to the market. To discuss how the Team can assist you with identifying the mineral prospects beneath your landholding, please be in touch.