Planning Strategy for Rural Northern Ireland
Regional Planning Policies: Policy MIN 1 Environmental Protection
|Policy MIN 1 Environmental Protection|
To assess the need for the mineral resource against the need to protect and conserve the environment.
Mineral exploration and working may damage or destroy nature conservation sites and structures and remains of historic and archaeological interest that are of importance. The early identification of the presence and importance of such sites, structures and remains liable to be affected by proposed mineral developments is important. The minerals industry should seek to ensure the physical preservation of important nature conservation sites, historic buildings and ancient monuments along with their settings.
Mineral developments within or in close proximity to areas such as Areas of Special Scientific Interest or National Nature Reserves which have been declared or proposed for declaration on the basis of their scientific value in regard to flora and fauna, etc, will not normally be given permission where they would prejudice the essential character of such areas. The same will apply to areas which have been or are to be designated, scheduled or listed because they contain features of archaeological or historic interest.
The Department will balance the case for a particular mineral working proposal against the need to protect and conserve the environment, taking account of all relevant environmental, economic and other considerations. In all areas, decisions on mineral applications will be made with regard to the preservation of good quality agricultural land, tree and vegetation cover, wildlife habitats, natural features of interest in the landscape and sites of archaeological and historic interest.
Extensions to existing mineral workings which minimise environmental disturbance in the countryside will normally be preferred to new workings on green field sites.
Permission for the extraction of peat for sale will only be granted where the proposals are consistent with the protection of boglands valuable to nature conservation interests, and with the protection of landscape quality particularly in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Where applicable, measures designed to prevent pollution of rivers, watercourses and ground water should be included in applications for mineral extraction and processing plant, including settlement ponds. The provision of reliable protective measures will be an important factor in assessing the acceptability of the extraction proposal.