Congratulations to Sirius/York Potash on a very polished public relations exercise - I was at their presentation in Sleights on 14 September.
However, some of us were not born yesterday.
Sirius is a commercial company solely intent on making money for its shareholders. It is a new company with no proven track record, proposing to use new, untested methods.
Sirius propose to invade our national park for its own financial gain. No amount of polish will disguise the fact that they propose to alter forever the nature of a supposedly protected national park.
Much has been made of the supposed gains such a scheme would bring to Whitby.
These claims need closer scrutiny.
I understand it would be up to 10 years before the magical ‘700 new jobs’ would materialise. It stands to reason that the company would seek to recruit young, able bodied men willing to work underground and with the aptitude to learn mining skills. What of the rest of the area’s job seekers - women, school leavers, older men? A few apprenticeships, a few surface ancillary jobs for women/older men - perhaps even, to be politically correct, a few token jobs for the disabled.
To look wider afield, Britain’s redundant coal miners will probably be judged to be too old. Where better to look for a ready-made labour force of experienced miners, than to eastern Europe?
The suggestion that a new workforce would require superior housing is grossly insulting. Where incidentally would such superior housing be built given the many constraints on suitable building sites in Whitby? To create such an ‘elite’ housing stock would further marginalise the existing residents of Whitby, many of whom already cannot afford to buy houses in their home town (however if this becomes a mining area, property values may plummet).
An elite workforce with disposable income would be likely to spend their money at designer retail outlets, leisure complexes and nightspots at Teesside, York and Newcastle. Any extra money spent in Whitby would mostly f ind its way to the coffers of Scarborough Council, directly or indirectly.
Tourism is a vital part of Whitby’s economy - it is not difficult to imagine the blight which could result from a desecrated countryside, severe traffic congestion on roads to/from the mine, disruption to traffic flow on the A171 if (when) the pipeline blocks or leaks, etc.
I understand the potash deposits stretch as far as Scarborough. Let the mine workings be sited outside our national park and as far towards Scarborough as possible. Convey the potash to Scarborough and move it on by rail to the docks of Teesside or Hull.
The siting of a potash mine at Red Gates is not a foregone conclusion. There are complex planning procedures to be gone through - and that is the time for local people to make their views known (for or against). There will be local people well qualified and informed in some of the major issues - geology, mining technology, the legal status of a national park, etc.
I urge them, as well as all the ordinary local residents like myself, to make their views known to the planning authority.
Mrs D Simms, Selstone Crescent, Sleights