North York Moors National Park

Sirius Minerals’ proposed $3.15bn potash mine project in the UK’s North Yorkshire Moors National Park is facing opposition from various organisations, claiming that the mine’s economic benefits do not compensate for the harm caused by it.

Twenty nine environment and amenity organisations have written a letter to UK’s North York Moors National Park Authority members, urging them to reject proposals for the project.

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Led by the Campaign for National Parks, along with a combined membership of more than seven million people, the organisations stated in the letter that the proposal is a huge threat to the national park.

They also said that the decision to build the project is a critical test of the protection provided to national parks under national planning policy.

As part of the project, Sirius Minerals plans to construct a 37km tunnel to a processing plant through the park.

The proposals put forward by York Potash, a flagship development asset of Sirius Minerals, would be considered by authority members at a special planning meeting to be held on 30 June.

Last week, National Park officers published a report and concluded: "The economic benefits and extent of the compensation/mitigation offered through planning obligations do not outweigh the harm and clear conflict with the development plan."

"There will be massive disruption to both residents and visitors, which will damage the enjoyment of the National Park and have major implications for tourism in the area."

Organisations opposing the project are worried about the wider implications protection given to all National Parks in the National Policy Planning Framework.

The letter stated: "We do not consider that York Potash Ltd has provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate the national need. Similarly, there is insufficient evidence that alternative sites outside the National Park have been adequately considered."

During the construction phase, the group anticipates that the damage will also be caused to the wildlife and landscape of the area.

Campaign for National Parks chief executive Fiona Howie said: "The officers report confirms our concerns that there will be significant, harmful impacts on the sense of remoteness and the special landforms of the National Park throughout the 100 year mining period.

"If this proposal gets the green light, there will also be massive disruption to both residents and visitors during the five year construction period, which will damage the enjoyment of the National Park and have major implications for tourism in the area."

Image: Map of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, UK. Photo: courtesy of Lencer.