Potash mine go-ahead will transform region’s economy

Sirius Minerals is behind the York Potash project
Sirius Minerals is behind the York Potash project
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Last week the North York Moors National Park Planning Committee took the decision to approve the York Potash mine proposals. I would like to congratulate the committee on making such a brave decision and seeing the exceptional opportunities that the mine brings to our region and to the wider UK economy.

At the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) we are looking forward to working with York Potash, the National Park and local authorities to ensure the jobs and other economic benefits for our area and for the whole country are delivered according to the plans set out in the planning meeting.

At the special planning meeting of the North York Moors National Park Authority, which I attended on June 30, the committee voted to go ahead and build the mine which will extract polyhalite, a type of potash commonly used as a fertiliser.

The proposals will see the world’s biggest potash mine created in North Yorkshire, below the North York Moors National Park. The plans include a tunnel which will take the mined polyhalite to a processing plant in Teesside, meaning that there will be minimal disturbance to the National Park area when the mine is fully operational.

At the LEP we are delighted with the planning decision and we have been supporting the plans for the mine because of the exceptional economic benefits it will bring. The investment through the potash mine will boost North Yorkshire’s economy by six per cent, which is around £1bn each year. That’s the equivalent of over £1,600 for each person living in North Yorkshire.

The benefits are to both our local economy and the wider UK economy, with the mine expected to generate £150m in taxes each year. The polyhalites will be exported, which has the potential to reduce the UK trade deficit by 2.5 per cent, a huge impact from a single investment.

It’s the biggest example of investment in the North of England and underlines North Yorkshire’s important role in delivering the government’s Northern Powerhouse ambitions.

And with the new mine comes new jobs; both during the construction of the mine and when the mine is fully up and running. It is expected that the mine will employ around 1,000 people, the majority of which will be local and these new jobs will be skilled and sustainable. The mine and the jobs will be available for future generations, bringing work to one of North Yorkshire’s most deprived areas and supporting its economy to build and grow.

As I said before the decision was announced, the mine is an opportunity that cannot be passed by and I am pleased that it won’t be. This is a great step forward and at the LEP we have been working on other projects nearby which will complement the mine and further stimulate growth in the area.

One such development is our work with partners to unlock major housing growth in the Scarborough region, namely Middle Deepdale.

Middle Deepdale, a 92-acre site to the south of the North York Moors, has received £2.3m from the LEP’s Local Growth Deal.

This land has the potential to build more than 1,300 new homes. The LEP’s investment will provide crucial highway infrastructure, so the site can be accessed and will therefore unlock the full potential of the site. With the news of the approval of the potash mine plans, these homes will play a vital role in supporting the area’s economic growth.

As well as the housing plans at Middle Deepdale, the LEP has also supported the Whitby Business Park. Through our Growing Places Fund, we have provided a £2.5m loan to the business park.

The intention for the loan was to improve the site’s infrastructure; this included new access roads which would enable further plots of the business park to be opened up. The aim is that these plots will attract new investment into the business park as well as preparing the site for the new businesses that will come from the potash mine development.

As well as this, we have seen the recent announcements Scarborough will also be home to a new University Technical College focussed on advanced engineering skills.

The combination of the potash mine, the new housing investments, business opportunities and training opportunities for local people means that Scarborough, Whitby and the surrounding areas has a bright future. I am proud to have witnessed the North York Moors National Park Planning Committee’s planning decision first hand.

At the Local Enterprise Partnership I look forward to further supporting and working with our partners to ensure these plans come to life in the coming years.

Investment in numbers

The potash mine is the largest single investment in the north of England, worth around £1.7bn.

The potash mine will bring £1bn into North Yorkshire’s economy each year which is around 6 per cent of the economy and will contribute £150m in UK taxes.

Experts from the mine have the potential to reduce the UK trade deficit by 2.5 per cent.

Potentially 1,300 new homes will be built on the 92-acre Middle Deepdale site, supported by a £2.3m investment from the LEP.

The LEP’s Growing Places funding contributed £2.5m into Whitby Business Park.