Councillors defend shares

Two county councillors have fended off criticism after it emerged they bought shares in a firm proposing to build a potash mine near Whitby.

Deputy leader Cllr Carl Les and executive member Cllr Chris Metcalfe said they were free to own shares in Sirius Minerals as they would play no role in deciding the outcome of the planning application.

And North Yorkshire County Council said it would not be launching an investigation, however, it is felt by some senior Tories the situation could be enbarassing for the authority.

Cllr Metcalfe said he bought the shares in December 2012 but they had halved in value.

Cllr Les said he regretted that his stockbroker had bought a £250 shareholding in Sirius as part of a managed portfolio. Metcalfe was voted last July to serve on the North York Moors National Park Authority’s planning committee - the body set to determine the application.

He said he had been unaware he had been given the role, and could not take the position as he would be unable to help decide the mine scheme due to his shares.