Contentious plans for gas plant in national park given the green-light

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Eric Pickles has given the green light to controversial plans for a multi-million-pound gas plant on the edge of a Yorkshire national park, despite council chiefs formally objecting to the scheme.

It was announced yesterday that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has agreed to grant planning permission for the Ryedale Gas Project, one of the biggest operations of its kind in the north of England which has sparked fury among residents with 10,000 people adding their names to a petition.

Moorland Energy submitted blueprints to build the gas plant on the edge of the North York Moors National Park in April 2010, before the proposals were considered at a public inquiry in the autumn last year.

North Yorkshire County Council, which is the main planning authority, had itself formally objected to the scheme.

The well-head would be within the confines of the park, while the main gas plant would be outside near Thornton-le-Dale.

The gas plant is aimed at generating enough gas every day to meet the annual energy requirements of up to 1,600 homes

Yesterday, Moorland Energy said it would now be working closely with planning officers to push ahead with the scheme.

The company’s chief executive, Lawrie Erasmus, said: “The go-ahead for the Ryedale Gas Project is excellent news for the Ryedale area.

“It will involve investing millions of pounds in construction and infrastructure work and will create temporary and permanent jobs as well as modern apprenticeships.”