IF the Government’s streamlined planning laws are to stimulate jobs and economic growth – their stated intention – there should be a greater likelihood that Sirius Minerals will eventually receive consent to open a potash mine in North Yorkshire.
This standpoint is given credence by the Country Land and Business Association’s latest analysis this week which reveals that the rural economy is still on the brink of another recession, even though there are signs of some growth in urban areas.
It is also reiterated by the latest jobless figures which reveal that Yorkshire’s coastal communities, including the location of the proposed mine, are still suffering from above-average levels of unemployment.
Yet the scheme’s potential impact on the North York Moors – and wider tourism industry – must not be under-estimated ahead of today’s North York Moors National Park Authority meeting in Helmsley, a precursor to a special planning meeting which will take place on July 2.
Though a detailed study reveals that 74 per cent of visitors will continue to use the national park, a significant number have said they will stay away from the area affected by the proposed mining operation and Welcome To Yorkshire’s involvement is crucial to representing these interests.
It will be up to the park body, and planning ministers at a later date, to determine whether the construction phase of the potash mine could hit the local economy by £40m a year because of the possibility of declining visitor numbers.
As such, it is now vital that planners fully investigate the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed mine – and the merits of the conflicting arguments now being aired. Either way, hundreds of livelihoods depend on the final outcome.