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Potash mine in Yorkshire to go ahead

Words: Laura Edgar

York Potash Limited has secured planning permission for new potash mine in the North York Moors National Park.

Assisted by law firm Eversheds, the company has also secured planning permission to build a 36.5 kilometre (km) tunnel from the new mine at Sneaton, near Whitby, to Wilton in Redcar.

Issued by North York Moors National Park Authority, the permission follows the authority’s decision to approve the cross-boundary application in June 2015.

A planning agreement has been secured that will see the National Park receive £175 million worth of payments through the life of the project.

The York Potash Project includes a mine and mineral transport system – a 36.5km-long tunnel with conveyor to transport the polyhalite from the mine to the Wilton facility at Teesside.

It also includes a materials handling facility at Wilton, which was granted planning permission by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, and a harbour facility at Teesside for export of the product.

Eversheds partner Morag Thomson and senior associate Laure-Beth Hutton in the planning and infrastructure consenting team advised on all aspects of the project from the beginning in 2013.

Thomson said: “We are delighted to have navigated the complex planning issues to achieve this permission which will assist York Potash Ltd with its exciting project.”

Allan Gamble, project director at York Potash Ltd, said: “Achieving consent for this nationally important project is a major achievement. Morag and her team have provided invaluable support and we thank them for their continuing assistance.”

The Campaign for National Parks, however, remain convinced that the project is “completely incompatible” with national park purposes and that the “promised economic benefits for the surrounding area do not justify the huge damage to the national park’s landscape, wildlife and local tourism economy”.

A spokesperson said: “Now that the formal decision notice has been issued, details of final planning conditions and the S106 agreement are in the public domain, and we will be reviewing these and other relevant documentation to determine whether we have grounds for a legal challenge.

“This is a major undertaking for a small charity, but it is something we feel we must consider given the significance of this decision for the protection of all our national parks.

“We have six weeks from the date of the decision notice to apply for a legal challenge.”