3. Core Approach

(1) Moving towards sustainable waste management: our shared vision to 2026

By 2026, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham boroughs will be leading exponents of environmentally friendly and innovative waste management solutions to support a diverse local economy and future growth. By working together with our partners, we will have:


Our shared vision and aims flow from national, regional and local policy objectives (see chapter 2) and the results of the consultation process.

(2) The aims of the Joint Waste Plan


The Joint Waste Plan has eight aims. These set out the broad principles for bringing forward sites and assessing proposals for waste development.

Aim A: Encourage waste to move up the hierarchy (away from landfill towards greater reduction, re-use, recycling and recovery) to achieve the targets set out in our municipal waste management strategies and save energy and resources.



The overall aim of the Joint Waste Plan is to manage waste in the following order of priority: prevention (reduction), re-use, recycling, recovery and landfill disposal (see figure 2: the waste hierarchy). Hence, the Joint Waste Plan has an important role in making sure that:


However, it is vital that the desire to move waste up the hierarchy does not come at the expense of other important planning considerations, including the protection of environmental assets (notably those listed under aim G). Equally, it is important that waste facilities which are lower in the hierarchy (such as recovering energy to divert waste from landfill) do not override the incentive to drive waste further up the hierarchy in the longer term i.e. towards the end of the plan period and beyond. These principles will apply to all new development, including new buildings, refurbishments and conversions.

Aim B: Ensure the timely provision of good quality waste management facilities to help address the predicted shortfall of recycling, composting, treatment and recovery provision within South Yorkshire and meet future waste needs within Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham up to 2026.



The Joint Waste Plan has a key role in addressing future capacity needs across South Yorkshire and the two city regions of Leeds and Sheffield. Based on future growth assumptions, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham face a shortfall of around 517,000 tonnes of recycling, composting, treatment and recovery capacity for municipal, commercial and industrial waste during the period to 2026 (see chapter 2). The three boroughs also have a shortage of suitable facilities to treat leftover waste as an alternative to landfill.


The Joint Waste Plan has identified a range of sites to make sure sufficient opportunities are available to develop waste management facilities in the right locations at the right time over the course of the plan period.

Aim C: Deal with waste locally within accessible urban locations and maximise movements via rail and water where possible, so as to save resources and minimise transport costs, whilst allowing waste to be imported or exported where it represents the most sustainable option.



As a joint planning document, it is vital that new waste facilities are accessible to the main transport network (including motorways and rail/canal freight routes where possible) as well as the sources of waste within existing urban areas, so as to reduce energy/transport costs and ensure that waste is kept as close as possible to its source (the proximity principle). This will encourage more effective on site management and localised treatment to reduce the volume of waste prior to transport. However, some of this waste could be imported or exported where it represents the most sustainable option (e.g. minimises the distance where waste is transported).

Aim D: Maximise the local economic benefits of waste management activity, including using waste as a resource for industry.



Most of our waste has value as a resource in that it can be used to produce energy (e.g. electricity or heat) and create new products (e.g. plastics) or green collar jobs. Some organic waste (e.g. wood and plastics) can be used as feedstock to produce biomass, energy crops and biofuels. For instance, developing waste recycling facilities (e.g. wood waste plants) and associated infrastructure to use feedstock can have significant economic benefits, especially in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors associated with increased self sufficiency and productivity, reduced energy costs and increased market demand for local products. In addition, there is potential to develop biomass facilities sourced from local woodland and energy crops as South Yorkshire is a leading exponent of this technology in the region.


Aim E: Maximise the potential to co-locate and integrate facilities to manage different waste streams using a range of advanced technologies, including renewable energy generation (where possible).



Benefits attributed to co-locating and integrating complementary waste facilities include: energy and transportation savings (e.g. fewer emissions), flexibility (e.g. ability to manage different waste streams), technological innovation (e.g. from waste collection through to final treatment), renewable energy generation and additional employment activities associated with waste management (preferably existing employment or industrial sites in accessible locations). This will reduce land take for infrastructure and waste management purposes, such as car parking and storage.


A wide range of proven waste technologies are available such as gasification, mechanical biological/heat treatment, pyrolysis and anaerobic digestion (explanations are given in the glossary in appendix A). These technologies have the potential to capture carbon and convert waste that cannot be re-used or recycled into renewable energy, such as electricity (via the national grid) and biogas (e.g. methane from landfill sites). Our approach is designed to be flexible rather than prescriptive to encourage innovation and support advances in technology over the plan period.

Aim F: Make use of vacant and underused brownfield land within existing industrial or employment areas.



In terms of location, preference will be given to employment and industrial areas or sites within existing waste management use that are accessible by a choice of means of transport within existing built-up-areas, preferably on underused brownfield or vacant land. This will make more efficient use of land/resources and reduce transportation costs. Most waste facilities are classed as employment uses (e.g. recycling facilities) and can be accommodated within existing employment sites.


Largely as a result of their industrial and mining heritage, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham have a relatively dispersed settlement pattern of former mining communities with high levels of vacant and underused land relative to other parts of the region. National planning policy seeks to concentrate new development within or adjoining existing urban areas and make best use of brownfield land.

Aim G: Waste management facilities should protect, maintain and, where possible, enhance the amenity, health and safety of local communities and the wider built and natural environment, especially in areas of sensitivity such as the green belt, floodplain, Thorne and Hatfield moors, ground water protection zones, rivers Don and Dearne, historic assets and the Peak District National Park.



Despite being urbanised, the plan area contains a number of environmental assets of international and national importance, notably Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation (e.g. Thorne and Hatfield Moors - see key diagram: map 1), Sites of Special Scientific Interest (e.g. Potteric Carr), country parks, historic parks and gardens, high grade agricultural land and part of the Peak District National Park. There are also extensive flood risk areas, in particular around the Dearne Valley and north east of Doncaster borough near the rivers Dearne, Don and Trent. The statutory green belt covers the majority of the plan area.


Policies WCS5, 6 and 7 of the Joint Waste Plan require measures to avoid and mitigate potential adverse effects on the amenity, health and safety of the immediate locality and wider landscape. New waste facilities provide an opportunity to enhance green infrastructure assets and corridors such as cycle and footpath routes, tree cover, waterways and habitat creation (e.g. via restoration).

Aim H: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions (especially carbon dioxide and methane) through energy efficient waste technologies and innovative transport solutions.



The Joint Waste Plan provides a framework to reduce and mitigate the effects of climate change arising from waste management practices. New waste recycling, composting and recovery facilities will save energy (especially from transportation), reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane and the use of fossil fuels and materials that would otherwise be landfilled13. Policies WCS1 and 6 of the Joint Waste Plan seek to promote and encourage the use of cleaner and more energy efficient waste technologies (e.g. energy-from-waste schemes from biomass/combined heat and power and thermal treatment) and construction measures as part of the design and layout of new development.

13 Research confirms that recycling in the UK saves the equivalent of 10-15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, which is equivalent to taking 3.5 million cars off the road (Waste Resources Action Programme).


Opportunities also exist to utilise existing transport infrastructure such as canal/river wharfs (e.g. Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation Canal), pipelines and railheads to transfer waste as an alternative to road.

(3) Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham's overall strategy for achieving sustainable waste management


The Joint Waste Plan has seven policies. The justification for each policy is set out in the supporting text and a table is provided at the end of each policy setting out how it will be monitored and delivered. Each table includes a series of targets and indicators to assess and monitor the extent to which the policy is being achieved. The next section also describes the role of key partners (e.g. private operators, landowners, neighbouring councils and government bodies), phasing and delivery mechanisms to bring forward sites and associated infrastructure.


Policy WCS1 sets out the broad policy framework to reduce and better manage waste within Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham. It is based on the aims set out above and informs the more detailed policies set out in chapter 4.


Provision will be made to maintain, improve and expand the network of waste management facilities throughout Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham to achieve sustainable waste management across all waste streams.

  1. To facilitate proposals to address the identified municipal, commercial and industrial waste management capacity gap:
    1. existing strategic waste management facilities are safeguarded to maximise their efficiency;
    2. three sites are allocated for new strategic waste management facilities (and a fourth site is reserved); and
    3. new or replacement smaller-scale facilities will be supported where these are required to serve local catchment areas and communities.
  2. No capacity gaps are identified for construction, demolition and excavation waste, hazardous waste or agricultural waste and therefore specific sites are not safeguarded or allocated. Proposals for new facilities processing these waste streams will be assessed on a case by case basis.
  3. Existing landfill sites are safeguarded, and proposals to maximise their life and efficiency will be supported. Proposals for additional capacity must demonstrate why it is required.
  4. The key principles set out below will guide the assessment of waste proposals.
    1. Large-scale waste management proposals will be directed towards the strategic site allocations where possible.
    2. Innovative waste technologies will be allowed and promoted where these support the vision and aims of the Joint Waste Plan.
    3. Proposals will be supported which enable Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham's waste to be managed locally, whilst allowing waste to be imported or exported where this represents the most sustainable option.
    4. Priority will be given to waste proposals which maximise the reuse of vacant or underused brownfield land, particularly within established employment areas and which provide opportunities for co-location and priority areas for regeneration.
    5. Waste proposals will be directed towards accessible locations with good transport links, particularly in and around urban areas.
    6. Waste proposals will be directed away from the most sensitive locations so as to avoid adverse harm to ground water aquifers (especially the Sherwood Sandstone and Magnesian Limestone aquifers), Thorne and Hatfield moors, historic assets and the functional floodplain.
    7. Waste proposals will not be allowed (including on safeguarded or allocated sites under policies WCS2, WCS3 and WCS5) which may undermine the integrity of nature conservation sites of international importance (such as Thorne and Hatfield Moors Special Protection Area and Special Areas of Conservation).
  5. All development proposals (including non-waste uses such as housing) must:
    1. promote high quality design and layouts that minimise waste and reduce resources (e.g. recycled materials and secondary aggregates), especially during the construction process; and
    2. ensure that they do not prevent or prejudice either the delivery or continued operation of waste facilities on safeguarded or allocated sites.



Policy WCS1 provides the broad policy framework to achieve the vision and aims of the Joint Waste Plan, and applies to both allocated and non-allocated sites. It also sets out in broad terms where new waste facilities will be located within Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham, and how they will be delivered.


A well planned and integrated network of waste management facilities will be sought across the plan area to address future capacity needs (see tables in chapter 2) and contribute towards the predicted municipal, commercial and industrial waste recycling, composting, treatment and recovery capacity shortfall within Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham over the plan period. Meeting this shortfall will require a combination of different waste facilities and processes on both existing and new strategic sites (the glossary provides a brief summary of different waste facilities - see appendix A). This includes safeguarding of existing sites where they have a strategic role within the waste management network (see policy WCS2) and the provision of three additional large-scale waste recycling, composting, treatment and recovery facilities (see policy WCS3).

FACT BOX: Strategic sites

By way of definition, strategic sites are:

  • typically around 2 to 5 hectares in size14;
  • critical to delivering the actions and targets for recycling, recovering and diverting waste from landfill from our municipal waste management strategies;
  • near to areas of population (e.g. main urban areas);
  • capable of serving a sub-regional or regional catchment area;
  • able to accommodate a range of waste technologies and specialist facilities (i.e. co-location opportunities); and
  • deemed to have the capacity to manage significant volumes of waste.

14 Facilities processing around 250,000 tonnes of waste per year typically require between 2-5 hectares of land (Planning for Waste Management Facilities, Office of Deputy Prime Minister, 2004). Smaller facilities processing around 50,000 tonnes per year generally need 1 or 2 hectares. Larger sites offer significant opportunities for co-location i.e. resource recovery parks comprising more than one waste facility (e.g. a transfer station, materials recovery facility and composting plant).


The Joint Waste Plan does not safeguard existing or allocate new small-scale facilities because their use and suitability may change over the plan period and because their overall capacity is limited to a predominately local catchment area (e.g. household waste recycling centres are located within close proximity to existing communities to allow easy access to recycling and disposal services). These facilities are designed to separate, bulk up, transfer and recycle waste before it is transported to the network of strategic waste facilities to facilitate the delivery of our recycling, recovery and landfill diversion targets. Future proposals for these types of facilities will be assessed on an individual basis (see policy WCS4).


Proposals dealing with other waste streams (e.g. agricultural waste or construction, demolition and excavation waste) will be assessed on an individual basis (see policy WCS4). Chapter 2 of this document confirms there is no significant waste management capacity gap across the plan area and there is no need to allocate new sites to deal with these waste streams. There is unlikely to be a shortfall of landfill capacity during the plan period, however the policy provides flexibility to deal with unforeseen circumstances (see policy WCS5).


The key diagram (map 1) overleaf shows the location of strategic waste sites in relation to existing settlements (including the sub-regional centres of Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham), key transport routes (e.g. air, road, rail and inland waterways) and neighbouring council boundaries. It also illustrates the relationship between these sites and environmental assets (e.g. the open countryside and natural conservation sites of international importance) that could limit future waste opportunities in certain parts of the plan area.


In terms of location, new waste facilities will mainly be directed towards the urban areas and future growth and regeneration areas in the plan area, preferably on brownfield or vacant employment sites that are accessible by sustainable modes of transport and offer co-location potential15. Other locations such as quarries and existing waste or industrial sites could also be suitable depending on the type and size of the proposed facility and its proximity to existing waste arisings.

15 The general core strategies set out in broad terms where new development will be located. This includes the pattern of future settlement growth. New waste facilities will support the delivery of these strategies.


Waste facilities should avoid locations that are within close proximity to sensitive receptors, such as ground water aquifers, protected habitats, floodplains and housing. The Sherwood Sandstone and Magnesian Limestone aquifers (from which our drinking water is obtained) are nationally important groundwater aquifers. Care must be taken to ensure that waste facilities do not cause pollution or harm abstraction activities as these groundwater sources are relatively low.


While the Joint Waste Plan policies provide a positive framework to guide decisions relating to waste facilities, they do not provide overriding backing to proposals that are shown to have an adverse impact either individually or in-combination with other plans or projects on the integrity of a European site of nature conservation importance. Waste proposals that are located within 10 kilometres of the Thorne and Hatfield moors Special Protection Area and Special Areas of Conservation must demonstrate that they will have no significant adverse impact on the integrity of these sites arising from air emissions and water-related changes in line with the requirements of European legislation.


Policy WCS1 also seeks to maximise opportunities to reduce, re-use, recycle and recover resources from waste. While large-scale developments (e.g. office parks and mixed-use housing) offer greater potential to reduce waste at source, small-scale developments (e.g. extensions, conversions and refurbishments) can also contribute to reducing waste and resource consumption in line with the principles of good design (see policy WCS7). In considering the location, layout and design of non-waste facilities in the vicinity of waste sites (both safeguarded sites and allocations), it is important that they do not prevent or prejudice the delivery of future operation of waste facilities.

Map 1: Key Diagram

Waste Plan Map 1

(4) Flexibility and review


We will aim to review the Joint Waste Plan every five or six years (2015, 2021 and 2026) against the municipal, commercial and industrial waste management requirements set out in chapter 2. At the end of each period, we will evaluate the progress and effectiveness of the aims and policies of the Joint Waste Plan against these targets. However, a review may occur even sooner if there are signs of under-provision of waste processing capacity or over-provision of disposal options which would restrict the movement of waste up the waste hierarchy (see figure 2). Any future review will be timed to coincide with the review of existing recycling, composting, recovery and landfill diversion targets from our municipal waste management strategies and relevant waste legislation.


If future monitoring indicates that policies are failing to achieve these targets, action will be taken to correct this. This may involve:

How the policies of the Joint Waste Plan will be monitored and implemented


The table overleaf sets out the indicators and targets that will be used to monitor the progress of the Joint Waste Plan. These relate to the aims and policies set out in chapters 3 and 4. The monitoring framework also describes the role of key partners, phasing and delivery mechanisms to bring forward sites, associated infrastructure and other waste management proposals.


The delivery of the Joint Waste Plan depends on close partnership between ourselves, waste operators, landowners and government agencies.


As unitary authorities, we have a wide-ranging role in putting the plan into practice. Our functions include the following.


Each council has a duty to collect rubbish and recyclables from households (including some businesses) and manage and dispose of this waste. Each council also has a duty to determine planning applications for waste development and make decisions on where these facilities will be built. We will collectively use our planning powers to increase the quality of waste development and make sure that all new development fits with the strategy set out in this plan. In addition, we will buy or use our own land to support waste projects, where appropriate. This may involve selling sites to developers or other agencies. With support from government funding, we have set up a dedicated project team to deliver the private finance initiative (PFI) alongside the private sector and other agencies. We will also seek to find a coordinated way to deliver infrastructure (e.g. energy, water and waste facilities) at a community scale in consultation with transport and environmental bodies.


The private sector will fund and operate most of the proposals set out in this plan. Private operators and the three councils will be expected to consult and engage with local people and voluntary organisations to promote waste prevention, increase recycling rates and ensure that future waste facilities achieve maximum community benefit.

Table 8: Monitoring and implementation framework

Indicator Target Relevant aims Relevant policy Key agents Delivery
1 Proportion of municipal waste recycled, composted and treated within Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham

50% (up to 2015)

90% (by 2016)

A - C Policies WCS1 - WCS4 and WCS7

Waste collection, disposal and planning authorities (BDR), waste operators, households, businesses, and regional stakeholders (e.g. neighbouring local authorities)

Regular monitoring of waste movements through RTAB and Environment Agency audits

Statutory agencies (e.g. Environment Agency, British Waterways and Natural England)

Development management process (enforcement control, monitoring and planning applications), municipal waste management strategies, community strategies, developer investment and government funding
2 Proportion of household waste recycled and composted

Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham (50% by 2020)

Barnsley (45% by 2015/2016)

Doncaster (60% by 2015/2016)

Rotherham (45% by 2015/2016)

3 Proportion of municipal, commercial and industrial waste diverted from landfill

Municipal waste: 90% (2016)

Commercial and industrial waste:

80% (2015)

85% (2021)

90% (2026)

4 Net increase in municipal, commercial and industrial waste recycling, composting, treatment and recovery capacity (with planning permission, licences and built)

299,000 tonnes (2015)

479,000 tonnes (2021)

517,000 tonnes (2026)

5 Proportion of construction, demolition and excavation waste diverted from landfill At least 93% A Policies WCS1, WCS4 and WCS7 Waste collection, disposal and planning authorities, waste operators and site owners, construction industry and businesses Development management process (enforcement control, monitoring and planning applications), municipal waste management strategies, community strategies, developer investment and government funding
6 Amount of hazardous waste produced in Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham that is landfilled No increase from 85,000 tonnes
7 New strategic sites coming forward for municipal, commercial and industrial waste facilities in line with phasing

3.1: Sandall Stones Road (by 2015)

3.2: Hatfield Power Park (by 2021)

3.3: Bolton Road (by 2015)

A to C and E Policy WCS3

Waste collection, disposal and planning authorities, waste operators and site owners

Site owners (including council and privately owned), waste operators and waste collection, disposal and planning authorities (BDR)

Development management process (enforcement control, monitoring and planning applications), municipal waste management strategies, community strategies, developer investment and government funding

The joint PFI project has secured 77 million pounds of central government funding towards municipal waste facilities at Bolton Road (site 3.3)

8 Proportion of new waste management facilities permitted on brownfield land 100% E - G Policies WCS1 - WCS4 and WCS6

9 Proportion of new waste management facilities permitted on:

  • safeguarded or allocated waste sites;
  • other existing waste transfer, recycling, composting, treatment and recovery sites;
  • existing or designated employment and industrial areas/sites;
  • agricultural buildings;
  • waste water treatment and sewage works;
  • active mineral workings (including collieries); and
  • landfill sites.
100% A, B, C, D and F Policies WCS1 - WCS4 and WCS6
10 New landfill capacity No new landfill sites other than for the purposes set out under policy WCS5 A - C Policies WCS1 - WCS5 and WCS7 Waste collection, disposal and planning authorities (BDR), waste operators, households, businesses, and regional stakeholders (e.g. neighbouring local authorities) Development management process (enforcement control, monitoring and planning applications), municipal waste management strategies, community strategies, developer investment and government funding
11 Remaining landfill capacity (per annum)

Thousand tonnes of remaining non inert landfill capacity (municipal, commercial and industrial waste):

4,951 (2015)

3,780 (2021)

3,023 (2026)

Thousand tonnes of remaining inert landfill capacity (construction, demolition and excavation waste):

5,299 (2015)

4,178 (2021)

3,212 (2026)

12 Proportion of operational landfill sites with an approved reclamation scheme 100% G and H Policies WCS5 and WCS6 Local planning authorities (BDR) Environment Agency

Development management process (enforcement control, monitoring and reviewing planning applications) and environmental permitting regime

Green travel plans, design and access statements, air quality surveys and transport assessments

13 Number of planning permissions granted contrary to advice from:

  • the Environment Agency on flooding or water quality grounds;
  • the Highways Agency; and
  • consultees on air quality and amenity
None C, G and H Policies WCS1 and WCS6 Local planning authorities (BDR), waste operators, local drainage boards and statutory bodies (e.g. Environment Agency, Health and Executive Agency, Highways Agency and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive)
14 Proportion of permitted facilities meeting BREEAM 'Very Good' 100% E, G and H
15 Proportion of permitted facilities complying with conditions 100% G and H
16 Number or reported complaints about permitted waste management facilities 0 G and H
17 Proportion of relevant planning applications accompanied by an appropriate waste management plan 100% A - D Policy WCS7 Landowners, developers, applicants, statutory agencies (e.g. Environment Agency) Development management process (scrutiny of planning applications, planning conditions and legal agreements)