Core Strategy - Adopted December 2007

Section 7 - Minerals and Soils Resources

7.1 The Borough of Southend-on-Sea contains no deposits of aggregates (sand and gravel) and can therefore make no contribution to the regional requirement for land won aggregates. The only mineral deposits that do occur are of brickearth, a specialised brick clay previously used in the manufacture of local stock bricks. Brickearth deposits also provide very high quality agricultural land, of which there are significant resources on the northern and north-eastern edges of the Borough.

7.2 Brickearth remains a valuable and limited resource, as does the high grade agricultural land within which it is located. Moreover, mineral extraction can be a destructive, and therefore inherently unsustainable, process, using resources that are finite in supply and processes which can potentially have significant environmental impacts. Government and regional policy on sustainable development place importance on the conservation of mineral resources, minimising environmental impacts, and on using less raw materials by relying on a greater level of supply from alternative sources, especially recycled materials.

7.3 Government policy on brick clay is currently set out in Minerals Policy Statement 1 (MPS1 November 2006), and in particular through Annex 2 to MPS1, 'Brick Clay'. The aim of this policy is to ensure that clays required for construction are provided and made available, firstly at acceptable social, economic and environmental cost, and secondly at a level that reflects the high levels of expenditure to maintain and improve existing brick-making plant and equipment. Relevant Government objectives are:

  1. To conserve brick clay resources by the appropriate provision and phasing of supply;
  2. To safeguard, and where necessary stockpile, specific resources of brick clays;
  3. To reduce damaging environmental impacts during extraction and processing;
  4. To enhance the overall quality of the environment once extraction has ceased, and
  5. To reduce the environmental impacts of the transportation of brick clay and its products.

7.4 Safeguarding of brick clay resources is likely to be appropriate where they are believed to be of suitable quality, are or may become commercially viable, and preferred areas of extraction can appropriately be identified. Mineral Planning Authorities (MPAs) should normally aim to maintain a stock of permitted reserves reflecting the proposed period of operation of the brickworks served by those reserves, which could be as much as 20 years or more.

7.5 The clay extraction and brick clay manufacturing industry is also encouraged to assist the planning process by providing the MPA with appropriate information on, inter alia, reserves of clay and plans for developing the capacity of brickworks.

7.6 Similarly, regional policy in the East of England Plan, reflects the above considerations in Policy M1 (regional supply and apportionment of land won aggregates and rock).

7.7 National and regional policy also seek to maintain and enhance the resilience and quality of soils, and to encourage the sustainable use of soil resources, including the best and most versatile agricultural land and land that has been contaminated or otherwise degraded, where remediation and restoration to beneficial and sustainable new uses should be encouraged. (See in particular Planning Policy Statement 7 (PPS7): Sustainable Development in Rural Areas, paragraphs 28 and 29, and East of England Plan Policy ENV4: Agriculture, Land and Soils).

7.8 Minerals and soils considerations do not feature in the local community's needs and priorities set out in the Local Strategic Partnership's Community Plan. However, as a result of extensive community involvement and consultation through the pre-submission production stage of this Core Strategy, a significant dilemma has been highlighted with regard to the Borough's brickearth mineral resources and the need for their safeguarding.

7.9 Whilst there has been clear and wide community support for the continued safeguarding of these resources on long-term sustainability grounds, the owner and operator of the adjoining brickworks, for which the reserves would form part of the feedstock, has advised that these reserves are no longer economically viable. Brick manufacture has now ceased at these works, and once the remaining stockpile of products has been sold, the brickworks will close completely. In addition, the operator sees no prospect of this situation changing in the future, or of any alternative source of demand for the reserves. Consequently, there is seen to be no foreseeable justification for the continuation of a safeguarding policy in respect of them.

7.10 Policy CP5 seeks to address all these considerations in the local context, balancing the long term sustainable conservation and use of minerals and soils resources against current and foreseeable viability, community infrastructure and other development needs and opportunities. It replaces the following adopted local plan policy:

  1. Southend-on-Sea Borough Local Plan Policy G2, Land of High Grade Agricultural Quality.

The Minerals Consultation Area: Brickearth lying within the Borough and its boundaries on the Proposals Map will be reviewed as part of the preparation of the proposed Criteria Based Policies and Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD 6).

Policy CP5 – Minerals and Soils Resources

As Local and Mineral Planning Authority, the Borough Council will require the sustainable use of soil and mineral resources, in particular by:

  1. protecting the best and most versatile agricultural land (defined as land in grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification) from irreversible damage where this is consistent with the full range of sustainability considerations, including biodiversity; quality and character of the landscape; amenity value or heritage interest; accessibility to infrastructure, workforce and markets; maintaining viable communities; and the protection of natural resources, including soil quality;
  1. granting permission for the extraction of brickearth where it can be demonstrated that:
    1. there are proven workable brickearth deposits and a need for the mineral to ensure that sufficient raw material is available for brick making over a twenty-year period; and
    2. there is an agreed scheme for the quality management, progressive restoration, aftercare and beneficial after-use of the site to an appropriate standard and timetable, and which safeguards the agricultural quality of the land or promotes alternative after-uses of benefit to biodiversity conservation and habitat creation; and
    3. there will be no materially adverse impacts on the environment (including landscape character, surface and ground waters, wildlife habitats, air and ground quality, and noise levels), and on the transport network and local amenity, or such impacts can be satisfactorily mitigated;
  1. refusing permission for any proposal that would result in the permanent sterilisation of workable or potentially workable brickearth deposits unless it can be demonstrated that the deposits are currently not commercially viable and there is no prospect of them becoming commercially viable in the foreseeable future, and the application proposal represents a community or other infrastructure use for which there is a demonstrable need and which cannot be met elsewhere;
  1. granting permission for beneficial long-term new uses of land that is contaminated or otherwise degraded, where there is an appropriate and agreed scheme of remediation and restoration funded in accordance with the "polluter pays" principle;
  2. permitting proposals for the importation of minerals and for the recovery of materials to produce secondary and recycled aggregates on industrial sites within the Borough where it can be demonstrated that:
    1. they can be carried out without material adverse impact on the environment (including surface and ground waters, air and ground quality, and noise levels), the transport network and local amenity; and
    2. the transportation arrangements are the most sustainable available in accordance with the proximity principle, using rail or water transport wherever possible.

Core Policy CP5: Minerals and Soils Resources – Monitoring and Implementation Framework

Core Indicator

Policy Indicator


Strategic Objective

SA/SEA Objective

Delivery Body(ies)

Amount of best and most versatile agricultural land lost through irreversible damage

Nil (except where this is supported by a range of other sustainability considerations

SO4, SO15, SO16, SO18

  • Effective protection of the environment
  • Prudent use of natural resources

SBC, Development Industry

Amount of commercially viable or potentially commercially viable brickearth deposits permanently sterilised


SO15, SO16

  • Prudent use of natural resources

SBC, Development and Brick-Making Industry

Amount of contaminated or degraded land brought back into beneficial long-term use

Reduction in amount of contaminated and degraded land within the Borough

SO4, SO14, SO16, SO17

  • Effective protection of the environment
  • Prudent use of natural resources


Development Industry

Production of secondary/recycled aggregates

Capacity within the Borough to produce secondary/recycled aggregates on appropriate sites

No loss of production/capacity


  • Effective protection of the environment
  • Prudent use of natural resources

SBC, Aggregate Suppliers, Development Industry

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