Latest study counters park’s tourism claims

Following claims that a new potash mine would damage the national park’s tourism economy by almost £40m, York Potash has responded with its own independently-compiled report.

In a document created by consultants ERS, the socio-economic benefits are estimated to be £940 million a year for the local economy when the mine is operating at full capacity. It also claims up to 6,089 construction and production jobs will be created over a 10-year period.

Chris Fraser, managing director and CEO of parent company Sirius Minerals, said: “The ERS socio-economic report provides independent confirmation of the York Potash Project’s ability to transform the local economy and will represent an unrivalled level of investment for North Yorkshire. It will create jobs, help improve skills and contribute to people’s prosperity for generations to come.”

In the May 17 edition of the Whitby Gazette we outlined a study commissioned by the national park which claimed tourism businesses in the area would lose £41m per year - later adjusted to £35m. However, this new report states the economic benefits to the region in general would far outweigh these losses.

The ERS report is also the first to quantify the significant boost that the mine would deliver to the national economy and the UK’s finances. ERS estimated that a new mine wold make an annual contribution of up to £1.4bn to UK Gross Domestic Product, contribute up to 0.1% of UK GDP growth, reduce the UK’s Current Account Deficit by around 10% and generate annual tax payments to the UK Government of up to £303m per year.

The authors of the study threaten that a scenario whereby the mine is not built would already lead to the loss of up to 337 jobs and supply chain expenditure of £46m.

With 9,200 people in the area out of work and wages 13% less than the national average, the report clearly highlights perceived benefits of the mine to the local area.

The report comes in the same week the National Park Authority has agreed an extension to the planning determination date for the mine.

The Special Planning Committee has been rescheduled from July 2 to July 29 at Sneaton Castle.

A spokesperson for the national park said the new date is required to allow information from further surveys relating to the natural water systems around the site and surrounding moorland to be properly considered.