New fees could hit UK planning
First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
Changes planned to the system for setting planning application fees in the UK could have serious implications for mineral operators, according to the Mineral Products Association.
The UK government has said that it doesn’t believe the current fixed fees allow planning authorities to recover the full cost of dealing with some applications. It is proposed that authorities can set their own fees and fees can also be attached to applications that do not currently incur any cost to the applicant.
MPA executive director Simon van der Byl said, “Our industry already pays some of the highest planning application fees in the country. Authorities demand fees today of up to £65,000 - that is on top of the very high cost of our applications relative to most other forms of development and takes no account of the increasing costs of pre-application discussions, environmental impact assessment and archaeological investigations.
“Mineral operators have an important role to play in providing essential materials to the construction sector, which will be so vital to sustaining the economic recovery. A fee increase now, and one that could be very substantial, is another cost burden that we can ill afford when so many of our companies are still struggling to survive, having lost around 30% of their business in recent years.”
According to van der Byl, the potential impact on the minerals industry has not been properly considered by the government and focuses primarily on built development.
“The report acknowledges that others pay planning fees which are on average less than £1000, but mineral operators pay tens of thousands per application,” he said. “In addition, they must pay monitoring fees each year and prepare high-cost review submissions every fifteen years. Mineral planning costs are much higher than for most other forms of development.
“If a new fee is introduced now for mineral reviews, which are currently exempt from charges because they are essentially for the public benefit, it will have serious implications for the mineral products industry.”