North York Moors National Park authority approves York Potash application

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We are dismayed that the North York Moors National Park Authority has approved the York Potash application. The decision was made at a special planning meeting on 30 June, and was extremely close: eight votes to seven. We backed the Campaign for National Parks (CNP) in fighting the project.

Ruth Bradshaw, CNP’s policy and campaigns manager, at the Campaign for National Parks said: ‘We are really disappointed that the national park authority members have approved the construction of the world’s largest potash mine in the North York Moors. We have long maintained that this project is completely incompatible with national park purposes and that the promised economic benefits could never justify the huge damage that it would do to the area’s landscape and wildlife and to the local tourism economy.

There was clear evidence of the planning grounds for refusing this project in the report produced by national park authority officers but there has also been huge pressure for the members to approve a project which has been widely promoted as bringing employment to the area, even though many of the jobs will not go to local people.

The only way to ensure that the full implications of this extensive proposal, with its multiple and complex applications, are understood is for there to be a public inquiry covering the whole of the York Potash project and for the final decision to be made by the Secretary of State. We called for such a public inquiry months ago as it would ensure that decisions are based on an accurate understanding of the overall costs and benefits of the whole project and would allow expert witnesses to provide evidence on some of the complex issues that need to be considered.

Given there are strong planning grounds for refusing this application, we are confident that any public inquiry would result in the decision being overturned so we can finally see an end to this threat to the North York Moors.

As a last resort, we shall also consider a legal challenge to the decision, since this is such an important test case of the protection for national parks in national planning policy. We have six weeks to apply for a judicial review so we now need to decide whether there are grounds for such a challenge,’ Ruth added.

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