Potash mine could help boost tourism

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TOURISM leaders have backed plans for a £1.7bn potash mine in a Yorkshire national park which they claim could become an attraction in its own right to boost the region’s multi-billion pound industry.

Welcome to Yorkshire has given its support to the scheme to build the mining operation in the North York Moors National Park. While conservationists have raised concerns over the impact on the landscape, there has been overwhelming public support.

The firm behind the plans, York Potash, has insisted a revolutionary design will minimise the environmental effects, with the majority of the minehead built underground.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive, Gary Verity, said: “With thousands of jobs created in the wider economy this will improve facilities in the area, which is something that will benefit the tourism industry in the long-term.

“Alongside our glorious countryside the mine itself could be a tourist attraction in itself, especially with the proposed visitor centre at the site. We look forward to working with York Potash to look at how visitor numbers and spend could be maximised.”

Six public exhibitions were held this month in locations including Sleights, Hawkser and Whitby after York Potash revealed it plans to build the mine near Sneaton.

More than 800 people attended, with nearly 90 per cent of those who filled in feedback forms supporting the scheme. A further 10 per cent were undecided, with just one per cent against the plans.

The mine has been heralded as a major economic boost, with as many as 5,000 jobs created. Exploratory drilling has pinpointed one of the world’s most extensive seams of potash, which is a key component in fertiliser and is vital to helping satiate global food demand.

York Potash will make a formal presentation to the North York Moors National Park Authority tomorrow. A second meeting has been announced for October 11 due to the amount of interest. A planning application is due to be submitted by the end of the year.