Public gives its backing to mine firm’s project

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A MASSIVE 97 per cent of people from around North Yorkshire have given the thumbs-up to the multi-billion pound plan for a new potash mine on the edge of the National Park.

York Potash, the company behind the scheme, to be based at Sneaton says 1800 responses from the public to a questionnaire show people in Whitby, Scarborough and the North York Moors National Park back the project.

Whitby Town Council also gave its formal backing to the mine at a meeting last week.

Chris Fraser, York Potash managing director said: “The vast majority of people were satisfied with issues such as the building and landscape design, action to manage vehicle movements, and that the project could proceed without harming local wildlife.

“There were some specific concerns or queries expressed by less than one per cent of respondents who opposed the project, mainly involving transport and environmental issues.”

Mr Fraser said the economic impact of the mine would include 2,140 jobs directly and indirectly created.

£1 billion will be contributed to the British economy each year, with £1.2 billion in exports annually.

There would be £234 million in tax contributions to the government each year, with £48 million being paid to the local economy. At its peak there will be 1,670 construction jobs created at the mine.

The planning application for the mine and mineral transport system has been formally submitted to the National Park authority and a decision is expected early in the new year.

He said: “We believe we have a very strong planning case that will deliver many benefits with the least possible impact and we look forward to the local authorities completing their difficult but important job of reviewing this significant application.”

York Potash will contribute over £30 million in the first 20 years in legal Section 106 monies including £5 million over 10 years and £200,000 annual after that to the North York Moors National Park Authority to “offset and enhance” the impact of the project in the park, with a further £3.5 million over a decade, and £100,000 each subsequent year to promote the park’s tourist industry.

In addition £10 million will be spent over 20 years on tree planting, £830,000 to aid education, employment and training in local schools, and £500,000 a year for three years to double train services on the Esk Valley line between Whitby and Middlesbrough.