Borehole permission

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PERMISSION to dig exploratory boreholes for potash in Littlebeck and Sneaton was given by the North York Moors National Park planning committee.

The applicant was York Potash Limited based at Wykeham and the permission was limited to nine months.

In Littlebeck the borehole permission applied to land at Newton House Plantation and in Sneaton to land at Mortar Hall Farm.

In both instances the permission included the temporary siting of a drilling rig with a maximum height of 33 metres and access arrangements.

There was only one objection to both proposals.

It was made by Susan Willmington of The Red Barn, Littlebeck who claimed that the operation in Littlebeck would cause light pollution and also that the road was unsuitable for heavy traffic and in Sneaton it would have a detrimental impact on the character of the landscape.

Planning officers in a report to the committee recommending approving the application pointed out that the price and demand for potash appeared to be rising.

The only potash mine in Britain is at Boulby near Staithes.

It was established in the 1960s on the site of a former ironstone mine. The next nearest mine is in Germany.

The present application is a second round of exploratory boreholes to be approved.

The first borehole at Hawsker has had polyhalite and potash reserves assessed with very good results.

The exploratory operations will last about eight weeks and the sites will be fully restored when they are finished.

Over recent years a number of such operations have been carried out in the area.