"Say No" to world's largest potash mine

~~Twenty nine environment and amenity organisations have today (24 June) joined forces to send a letter to North York Moors National Park Authority members urging them to reject proposals for the world’s largest potash mine next week.
The organisations, led by the Campaign for National Parks, and with a combined membership of more than seven million people, say in the letter that the proposal is not only a huge threat to the North York Moors but that the decision is a critical test of the protection provided to National Parks under national planning policy. Authority members are due to consider the proposals by York Potash Ltd at a special planning meeting on 30 June.
In their report published last week, National Park officers failed to make a recommendation but concluded that the conflict with the Development Plan is such that “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.” The report also says that the policy conflict with the Development Plan and national policy is such that the proposal “does not represent exceptional circumstances.”
The issues that the organisations are particularly concerned about include:
• The wider implications of the decision for the protection afforded all National Parks  in the National Policy Planning Framework
• The huge damage this will do to the local tourism economy,
• The significant transport and traffic impacts and the fact that these have been downplayed by the developer.
The letter asks Authority members whether there is a proven national need for development; whether this development is the only possible site either inside or outside the National Park and whether the harm inflicted on the Park by the development can be mitigated?
The letter adds: “The Campaign for National Parks believes the answer to all these questions is no. 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.
“The potential damage to the landscape during the construction phase is so substantial that Natural England has submitted a formal objection. There would also be lasting damage to the wildlife and landscape of the area.”
Fiona Howie, Campaign for National Parks Chief Executive, said it was also important for Authority members to be aware of the significant damage this major industrial development will do in this sensitive and nationally important landscape. “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. So the special qualities, which are what make the North York Moors loved by local, national and international visitors, will be undermined.
“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.
“It is vital that Authority members reject this proposal to preserve the principle and integrity of National Parks both in the North York Moors and across the country.”
Harry Bowell, Director of the North region for the National Trust, said:
“The National Trust remains extremely concerned about the scale of the proposed Potash mine development and the long term implications on the North York Moors National Park. Due to the complexity of the project, the full impact of the proposals are not yet clear, and questions remain over the demand, economic benefits and effect on tourism.
“National Parks are given the highest level of protection, and a development of this scale should only go ahead within a protected landscape if there is a proven national need. It’s clear from the recent officers report that the proposals do not reach the required bar in terms of exceptional circumstances.”
The Campaign for National Parks will be speaking as one of the objectors at the special planning meeting on 30 June.

Notes to Editors
1 The letter has been supported by the following organisations: Brecon Beacons Park Society, British Mountaineering Council, Broads Society, Campaign for Better Transport, Campaign for National Parks, Camping and Caravanning Club, Caravan Club, CPRE (national office), CPRE (North Yorkshire branch), Cymdeithas Eryi Snowdonia Society, Dartmoor Preservation Association, Exmoor Society, Friends of the Lake District, Friends of the Peak District, Friends of the Pembrokeshire Coast, HF Holidays, John Muir Trust, National Trust, New Forest Association, North Yorkshire Moors Association, Open Spaces Society, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Scottish Campaign for National Parks, South Downs Society, The Wildlife Trusts, The Woodland Trust, Yorkshire Dales Society, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Youth Hostels Association.
2 A copy of the letter can be found here.

3 Media wishing to interview our Policy and Campaigns Manager Ruth Bradshaw should contact Communications Manager Tony McDougal: tonym@cnp.org.uk (Tel: 07766133788)
4 Background information on our campaign work against the York Potash mine can be found at www.cnp.org.uk/north-york-moors-potash-mine-threat
5 The North York Moors National Park Authority Officers report can be found at http://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/planning/york-potash
6 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 greenest treasures. For nearly 80 years we have been campaigning to ensure that our National Parks are beautiful, inspirational places that are relevant, valued and protected for all.