Press release: “Last minute postponement demonstrates weak case for potash mine”

The Campaign for National Parks has welcomed today’s announcement by the North York Moors National Park Authority (NYMNPA) that the decision on Europe’s largest potash mine will be deferred to allow essential environmental information to be submitted. 

The charity has previously questioned whether the National Park Authority currently has sufficient information to make a lawful decision on the proposal.

The deferral was requested by the applicant, York Potash Ltd (YPL), who want to build the minehead on a site well inside the National Park, close to Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Trail. However, as we highlighted in our objections to the proposal, developments of this scale are only allowed in a National Park in exceptional circumstances, and when they can be demonstrated to be in the public interest.

The final decision as to whether to give the go ahead to the minehead rests with the members of NYMNPA’s Planning Committee and was due to take place on 29 July, having already been deferred twice.  However, it had been expected that the National Park Authority officers’ recommendation as to whether or not the minehead should get planning permission would be published today (18 July).

In addition to the minehead, the project includes a proposed processing plant and port facilities on Teesside, a pipeline to transport the mineral to Teesside and offshore developments. Each of these aspects will be going through separate consent processes but under EU law, the environmental impacts of the whole scheme should have been considered as part of the information being taken into account for the decision on the minehead. This has not happened and the only environmental impacts that have been considered are those relating to the minehead and pipeline.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Helen Jackson, chief executive of the Campaign for National Parks, said: “There are strong planning grounds for turning down this proposal and this last minute request by YPL for the decision to be deferred demonstrates what a weak case they have for choosing a location within the National Park. The minehead will be there for a very long time so it is critical that the right decision is made on it. We hope that YPL will use this extra time to ensure that a full environmental impact assessment is undertaken and to look again at alternative locations outside the National Park. To date, YPL have not provided sufficient information to rule out some of these alternative locations and, until such time as they do, there is absolutely no justification for allowing this proposal to go ahead in the current location.”

The Campaign for National Parks believes that the full impacts of this project need to be considered together so we have written to the government requesting that the whole of this project be called in for determination by the Secretary of State following a single public inquiry which should consider the pipeline, processing plant, port facilities and off-shore works as well as the minehead.

Media enquiries to Ruth Bradshaw on 020 7924 4077 ext 222 or

Notes for editors:
1.    The Campaign for National Parks is the independent national voice for the 13 National Parks in England and Wales. Our mission is to inspire everyone to enjoy and look after National Parks – the nation’s green treasures. Read our first objection letter and final objection letter. Read our call for a public inquiry. More information about our work on

2.    The NYMNPA announcement is available here