‘Beautiful place’ charity calls for potash inquiry

The Dove's Nest Farm site near Sneaton
The Dove's Nest Farm site near Sneaton

A charity set up with the aim of ‘keeping beautiful places safe’ has called fora public inquiry to be held into plans to build a potash mine near Whitby.

The Campaign for National Parks is urging Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to call in the planning application for the York Potash development at Dove’s Nest Farm, Sneaton on the grounds that it is of national significance and conflicts with national policy on the protection of National Parks.

York Potash’s plans involve the construction of a mine head and mine shaft at Dove’s Nest Farm, along with a tunnel to transport the mineral 23 miles from the mine site to Wilton on Teesside where the extracted mineral would be processed for export.

Ruth Bradshaw, Campaign for National Parks policy and research manager highlighted concerns regarding the impact on the landscape of the surrounding area, the likely erection of some temporary structures during the construction phase and increased traffic throughout the region.

She added that the planning application for the potash mine also has much wider significance as it is a significant test of the national planning protection for National Parks.

Ms Bradshaw continued: “We’re very concerned about the threat that this mine poses for the North York Moors and the damage it will cause to landscape, biodiversity and recreational activities.

“National Parks are protected in law for good reasons.

“Not only are they extraordinary landscapes providing clean water, wildlife habitats and benefits critical to a healthy environment but they also contribute significantly to the national economy.

“This project is simply incompatible with the statutory purposes of National Parks.”

Four other organisations – the National Trust, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, the North Yorkshire Moors Association and the Campaign for Protection of Rural England Coastal branch – are also calling for a public inquiry.

Tom Chadwick, chairman of the North Yorkshire Moors Association, has raised concerns that giving the mine the green light will set an “alarming” precedent.

He said: “If this development is allowed to go ahead it will amount to sacrificing the integrity of a National Park to satisfy an alarming trend for economic growth at any cost.”

Karin Taylor, from the National Trust, added: “This application threatens to undermine the principles under which National Parks are protected through the planning system and could even threaten the designation of the North York Moors as a National Park.”

York Potash told the Whitby Gazette that the issues raised in the Campaign for National Parks’ objection are dealt with in their planning application which has been scrutinised by relevant local authorities and the government’s advisers on nature and the environment.

A York Potash spokesman added: “The planning application for the project is following a very clear process which allows the National Park Authority and Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council to make local decisions on the applications.

“It has attracted support from the local community, parish councils, business groups, education establishments and many more.”