A PAN-DORSET mineral sites plan is edging towards completion – 18 months after first being submitted to the Secretary of State.

It should protect the county from unwanted mineral extraction, but is still some months away from being ‘signed off.’

Dorset Council’s cabinet approved the amended plan at a meeting on Tuesday but it has yet to be approved by the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council. That is expected to take place just before Christmas. There will then be a six-week period for legal challenges.

The new plan will replace policies dating back, in some cases, to 1999.

It has been published, with some amendments suggested by an inspector, after a series of public sessions in September and October 2018 and again in February this year.

Said cabinet environment brief holder Cllr Ray Bryan: “It’s imperative we have a plan. If we didn’t we would run the risk of mineral extraction where perhaps we wouldn’t want it.”

Purbeck councillor and council vice chairman Peter Wharf also welcomed adopting the plan: “It’s been a very long journey but it is well worth it because we will soon have a plan in place which will allow us to move forward,” he said.