Do you know where the largest known mainland oilfield in Europe is located?
With estimated reserves of 480 million barrels of oil and producing 16,000 barrels per day it is to be found at Wytch Farm in Dorset. The equipment needed to extract the oil is sited in an environmentally sensitive area with surroundings designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
All the buildings associated with the drilling have been designed to match the natural world around it.
Tree plantations in addition have helped to protect the site. As a result the site has been presented with the Queen’s Award for Environmental Achievement.
The presence of oil was first discovered in 1993 and production started in 1997 – sixteen years ago.
Since going into production there have been no adverse effects on the local residents.
If house prices are to be a measure of the acceptance of an industrial site in close proximity, then try buying one for less than a million pounds.
The parallels between the development of this site and that in North Yorkshire where potash resources have been found are very similar.
The proposed site in North Yorkshire is in a National Park; that in Dorset is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
In both cases the operations are designed to extract valuable commodities, which create an added value to nation and to the surrounding localities.
Also additional work in the form of pipelines is needed to transport the extracted product for further processing.
So if the oilfield in Dorset can be approved, why cannot the mine in Yorkshire go ahead?
It would appear that the company behind the York potash mine have bent over backwards to meet very stringent requirements in planning the site.
Although the site lies within the North York Moors National Park it cannot be said to be on exposed moorland.
On the contrary it will be hidden by tree plantations and will be difficult to see from any adjacent roads, which may be used by visitors to the park.
It is about time that the NYMNPA recognised the inherent value of the York Potash development and accepted that their objections have no real merit in protecting the park from a project that not only benefits the nation but also many of the people living in the surrounding area.
Bringing in an advisor whose opinions will be financially biased against York Potash is to say the least a dubious move and one that should be recognised by the negotiating bodies.
Local councillors have to declare an interest in dealing with council business; the advisor to the NYMNPA and the authority itself should do the same.
By employing this advisor the authority have revealed that they have failed in their previous arguments to persuade us that they are right to pursue their case.
Let the potash project proceed without further ado so that we can all begin to reap the benefits.