Too many imponderables

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So yet another report in today’s Gazette containing information I have not read before.

The issue of water pollution. Why on earth would anyone allow anyone to discharge waste into a water course such as Sneatonthorpe Beck on a scale such as is likely from a major site like the proposed potash mine. How many people, like me, were not aware of this situation? Surely this is yet another reason to refuse permission to this application.

In addition, the effect on the tourist trade is still not adequately known despite research and revised figures being banded about. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be a detrimental effect on Whitby, its economy and its residents. I don’t believe that the worth of promised jobs will compensate for this as many employees will need to be qualified and experienced and will come from outside of the area.

I can demonstrate something similar from living in Leicester during the 1980s. A new mine was proposed because, supposedly, the biggest deposit of coal to be found in years was sitting under the Vale of Belvoir – an area of fantastic beauty and productive farmland. The justification was that the coal was needed and that the mine would bring work to an area where there was an unemployment problem. After much consultation and many petitions against the plans, the project went ahead. Permission was denied for a pit head in the Vale so this was built on the outskirts of Melton Mowbray. This meant that a very long and deep underground road system had to be constructed in order to reach the coal face. This took several years to blast and build.

What happened? Was the site successful? Did it produce the jobs the area needed and the boost to the housing industry as promised? Were tons of top quality coal mined? No, no and no.

The underground roadways and the coal face were so deep there was a constant problem with flooding making mining extremely difficult. No jobs were provided to the local economy as the miners came from the coalfields of North Leics/Derbyshire/South Yorkshire where they lived and didn’t relocate. And the coal was industrial grade with very little worth and demand. Result - the mine closed, the pit head was demolished and the mine site has been reconstructed as industrial units. What a waste of millions of pounds.

Moral of my story? Not enough is known about proposed underground excavations. Not enough can be sure about the detrimental effects to an area. And not enough has been proven about the worth of what is supposedly sitting underground. There are too many imponderables that haven’t been satisfactorily answered. And I wonder how many more there are that haven’t even come to light yet?

Initially I had supported this project but the more I have read, the more I feel uncomfortable about it. I am therefore now withdrawing my support.