Drafting a monitoring report
25. A written site monitoring report should be completed by the planning authority and sent to the operator after each visit. The 2017 Regulations provide that a fee is only payable if a monitoring report is sent to the operator within 10 days of the site visit. The report should detail the matters reviewed, the points arising, including identifying agreed improvements in working practices, any breaches of conditions, and the action required by both the operator and the planning authority, including timescales.
26. In most instances, the completion of a pro-forma may be appropriate. A suggested template for a surface coal mine site pro-forma is provided at Annex A. The use of this template is not mandatory and planning authorities can therefore opt to develop their own pro-forma, based on their experience and circumstances.
27. Where a planning authority opt to use a traffic light approach to reporting i.e. red, amber, green to indicate what action will be taken, it is helpful if a description of the actions and timing underlying the red and amber factors should be provided. For example, if enforcement action such as a stop notice is intended it should be clear that red indicates immediate action. Amber might indicate an activity will occur within a month or after the next available planning committee cycle. Whatever is chosen, it should be clear to the reader what parameters apply to proposed actions.
28. In terms of transparency, planning authorities are encourage to seek the approval of a site operator, for them to publish relevant elements of monitoring report on their website, soon after submission. This can support ensure local communities are kept fully aware of how sites are being operated and how their views or concerns have potentially been addressed.