07 Dec Barnaby Harding Presents on the Removal of Abstraction Licence Exemptions at annual MPA Conference

Last week we were at the Mineral Products Association (MPA) Members 10th Environment & Mineral Planning Conference at Highgate House, Northampton, where our Technical Director, Barnaby Harding, presented on the removal of abstraction licence exemptions due in January 2018.


Barnaby Harding Presents on Removal of Abstraction Licence ExemptionsThis year’s conference was centred around the theme, ‘Hopes, fears & expectations – making sense in an uncertain world’. The day began with a morning session on the role of the MPA EMP Team, the current state of mineral planning, including the future of the Managed Aggregate Supply System and the forthcoming review of the NPPF, the latest AMPS Report and the ongoing challenges around long-term supply and demand.

In the afternoon, a series of key updates were given, including Barnaby’s presentation entitled, ‘Removal of dewatering exemptions – “Calm before the storm?”’.

Barnaby started with a brief overview of the changes coming into effect in England and Wales as of 1st January 2018, when currently exempt abstractions for quarry dewatering, abstractions in geographically exempt areas, abstractions operated by public bodies and statutory undertakers, and irrigation, will become licensable. Those operating under these exemptions will be required to start applying for the relevant licences to allow them to continue abstracting. He explained that those sites currently operating under the exemption will have a 2-year transitional period to apply for licences, and the Environment Agency (in England) or Natural Resources Wales (in Wales) will then have a 3-year period to determine applications.

A background and history to the policy was given, followed by an explanation of how these changes will be implemented and a timeline. Barnaby provided guidance on the key points for MPA members and some useful resources.

He also ran through the risks and uncertainty surrounding the implementation and how these may be addressed. These were also reflected in questions raised by attendees, including concerns that the length of time between the announcement and the start of the transitional arrangements may not provide sufficient time to get everything in place. There were also queries raised regarding future planned abstractions (i.e. those where no or lower pumping will have taken place prior to the end of this year).

Barnaby explained that resources and support are and will continue to be made available to help with understanding these changes. The MPA’s own working groups are continuing to discuss this and are in communication with the Environment Agency (EA) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) regarding concerns and simplifying the understanding of these changes for those whom it concerns.

The EA have now indicated that applications will be screened and then sent down a simple route or a complex route. Understanding how the EA will implement this and ensuring applications go down the correct route will be key.

Want further info and advice on these changes?

You can register for our upcoming webinar, where Barnaby will be joined by Duncan Wardrop, Chairman of the MPA Water Group & Principal at Wardrop Minerals Management Limited, to go through the critical information you need to consider and answer your queries.

Register now for the webinar:
Removal of Abstraction Licence Exemptions (“New Authorisations”): 2018 and beyond
Thursday 18 January 2018 11.00am-12.00pm (UK time).

Alternatively, you can contact Barnaby to discuss these changes and any queries that you may have.