Council responds to Essex Minerals Local Plan setting out concerns over site proposals

Braintree District Council has set out its response to Essex County Council’s Replacement Essex Minerals Local Plan.

Essex County Council, as the minerals and waste planning authority, are reviewing its Minerals Local Plan which identifies policies and sites for minerals extraction in the county through to 2040.

This follows previous consultations undertaken involving proposed amendments in March and April 2021 and a call for sites exercise in 2022.

A total of 52 potential sites have been put forward, with 15 in the Braintree district, making up to 58% of the plan’s extraction targeted in this area. This includes Bradwell Quarry, Whiteheads (Witham), extensions of Rayne Quarry and land at Pattiswick Hall Farm.

In the council’s response, it has highlighted the economic importance of mineral extraction that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the proposal for on-site renewable energy and use of low emissions technology. Opportunities for bio-diversity net gain and habitat creation during site restoration and after use schemes are supported, as well as the proposed policy to reduce mineral waste and that minerals sites are re-used and recycled.

However, the council has serious concerns about the impact on the district’s residents, landscape and heritage, particularly around Coggeshall and Stisted.  

It has raised concerns about up to 58% of the plan’s extraction being targeted in the southern parts of Braintree district, with extensions to existing sites more favourable than new sites to “minimise the need for new minerals buildings and haul routes in the countryside”. The council has asked for the plan not to compromise proposals contained within its Local Plan and that “sites elsewhere in Essex are properly considered and when appropriate provision provided in more suitable locations.”

In its response the council has stated the current strategy “places a significant burden on residents, transport infrastructure, and the natural environment”. It has shared objections on various sites proposed in the district, given the potential highways impact on the local road network including the A120 and A12, priority habitats and species, listed buildings, landscape, as well as access, public rights of way, pollution and heritage.

Councillor Gabrielle Spray, Cabinet Member for Planning and Infrastructure at Braintree District Council, said: “We are generally supportive of sand and gravel sites and recognise their economic importance and the community recreation benefits they can provide including biodiversity and habitat creation. Whilst we know there are limits to where minerals can be found, we are concerned that up to 58% of the plan’s extraction is targeted in the district and the introduction of new sites in areas which have not been subject to this type of use before.

“We have shared our strong views in detail with the county council as part of our consultation response which we hope are taken into consideration, and have requested for an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders, including town and parish councils, as these plans progress.”

The consultation, run by Essex County Council, is open until 5pm on Tuesday 9 April 2024 and residents are being invited to have their say. It can be completed online at

Published: 15th March 2024