THE recent initiative of the Campaign for National Parks suggests that the proposed potash mine offers an almost deadly threat to the North York Moors.
I am a long-term resident of North Yorkshire, I get incredible enjoyment from visiting the National Park and I have put considerable effort into studying the proposal, including several hours spent at the offices of the National Park, reading in detail the proposals, and this view seems to me to be totally nonsensical.
Of course, mines are naturally expected to be “blots on the landscape”, but in this case the documents show that it will be almost impossible for residents and visitors to even be aware that the mine exists. Exceptional efforts have been made to landscape the areas which are visible.
The total area of the National Park is of the order of 1,500 square kilometres, and yet the mine head and one other structure will only impact on a very small area. Spoil from the development will be carefully landscaped in keeping with the terrain, and once mature it will be impossible to detect.
From my inspection of the documents and knowledge of the undulating and tree clad terrain in that area, I honestly believe that almost every visitor to the National Park will never become aware that the mine even exists. Certainly that will be true for visitors to Sutton Bank, Dalby Forest and the coastal zone, and even for the walkers throughout the park. It will be a project which will show the world that in a sensitive area, Britain can carry out mining with negligible impact. It will be truly world-beating.
The major challenge to the National Park authority is to ensure that the conditions described above are achieved through their careful management, whilst at the same time allowing the realisation of what is an exceptional national project, earning billions in exports and tax revenues, to the benefit of the whole country. It will provide more than 1,000 local jobs for many years, all with no significant detriment to the extraordinary landscapes.
It is said that the project will lead to a growth in the economy of North Yorkshire of 10 per cent or more. Success in managing the situation by the National Park will be a win-win result for us all.
A huge majority of the population (over 95 per cent) who were interviewed about their reactions to the scheme were strongly in favour, even those employed in, and benefitting from, the tourist industry.