Potash plans suffer new delay

York Potash's plans are set for delays
York Potash's plans are set for delays

Fresh delays have hit Whitby’s money-spinning potash plans, with opponents accusing the developer of not providing the full facts about the divisive proposals.

Sirius Minerals’ share price dropped after announcing it was making amendments to the recently submitted planning application for the York Potash site.

The firm insists the delays are a “normal” part of the planning process, and that new information will be made available in January.

But the amendments to the applications mean another consultation will have to be held, which the firm expects will take around three weeks.

And the latest delay to the project, which would see Europe’s largest potash mine constructed in North Yorkshire’s Moors, has “frustrated” members of the Campaign for National Parks.

The body’s previously opposed the ambitious project, and policy and research manager Ruth Bradshaw claims the firm’s struggles with the application process demonstrates that it hasn’t “understood the significance” of National Park status.

She added: “Even after all this extra time, they have still not been able to deliver a planning application which includes the information that planners need.

“The law is very clear on the need to provide a full assessment of the environmental impacts of projects of this scale and that’s particularly important in a National Park.

“It’s not clear whether this latest omission is an oversight or a deliberate attempt to obscure the facts.

“However, what is clear is that any delays caused to the decision-making process are entirely the company’s responsibility.

“This will mean further uncertainty for all those affected by the proposal.”

The announcement forced Sirius shares to plummet by 12 per cent on Thursday, settling at 9.25 pence.

But Sirius Managing Director Chris Fraser downplayed the announcement, although he admitted it was up to the firm to address the issues.

“In a large scale application like this, the provision of clarifications or additional information is an important and normal part of the process,” he said.

“We believe this should result in a relatively small addition to the decision timeframes but the onus is on us to provide information to the authorities as quickly as possible.”