It is a real pleasure to serve under your chairmanship once again, Mr Davies.
Minerals are essential to our quality of life and to deliver the homes, roads and other infrastructure that this country needs. Yet we also recognise that mineral extraction can have an adverse effect on the environment and that that impact will change over the lifetime of extraction on a site. Clause 8 gives effect to schedule 3, which will allow mineral planning authorities in England greater direction as to whether to undertake a periodic review of the minerals permissions of sites in their areas and when. The measure will free mineral planning authorities from centrally set requirements, while potentially reducing the financial burden on the industry and on local authorities without any loss of environmental protection.
Clause 8 contains transitional provisions to make it clear that the changes to the review regime will apply to mineral permissions granted before the coming into force of schedule 3, but where a mineral planning authority has already served notice of a review, that review must be completed. The proposal is designed to help the current regime work better and more flexibly, so that reviews only take place when they are genuinely necessary. That is in line with our efforts to ensure that the planning system is simpler and faster while remaining effective.
As the Minister pointed out, the clause deals with changes to the mineral planning regime to ensure that mineral planning authorities have more discretion over when permissions are reviewed. As the local planning authority will act as the mineral planning authority in a relevant application, it is good to see that there is at least one clause in the Bill that trusts the discretion of local authorities. It is hardly a huge step for localism, but it may be beneficial to local authorities to have more flexibility when they a review mineral planning permission.