Calls for enquiry into ‘quarry-saving’ mine

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The debate over plans for a billion pound potash mine near Scarborough continues as developers promise to save jobs while campaigners call for a public enquiry.

Bosses from Sirius Minerals, the firm proposing to build the sunken mine at Sneaton, will be making a presentation in Scarborough next week detailing the scheme’s progress.

The presentation will be made to senior councillors and members of the public ahead of the Scarborough Council’s Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Earlier this week York Potash, a subsidiary of Sirius, claimed that on top of the 1,000 jobs it aims to create at the mine, the project will secure the future of a quarry near Pickering - safeguarding six jobs.

As part of its bid to use local suppliers, York Potash has indicated that Newbridge Quarry, owned by CEMEX UK, would be a preferred supplier of aggregates for the three year construction phase, should planning permission be given.

The promise from potash bosses comes after quarry staff were told the site may close next month after 116 years.

Gareth Edmunds, external affairs director for York Potash said: “We are committed to using local suppliers and local quarries which not only benefits the local economy but also reduces the length of vehicle movements required.”

York Potash says it has already spent almost £6 million on suppliers across Yorkshire.

Rob Doody, operations director at Newbridge Quarry said: “We are delighted there is the opportunity to supply building material to York Potash.

“The construction market has been at an all-time ‘low’ affecting the demand for aggregates so it is good news that we can keep the quarry open and our employees in work.”

However the construction is dependant on whether planning permission is granted when the North Yorkshire Moors Planning authority meets on July 29.

Concerns have been raised by opposition about the environmental impact of the proposed mine, set to feature an underground pipeline running to Teesside, and the affect on tourism.

The Campaign for National Parks is so concerned about the mine plans it has called on the secretary of state Eric Pickles to instigate a public inquiry in an attempt to stop consents needed for each part of the development being considered by different bodies.

The decision on the minehead is to be made by the National Park Authority, while the decision about the pipeline to a proposed processing plant in Teesside, will be determined by the National Infrastructure Directorate.

The proposed processing plant and offshore works are also being decided separately.

The Campaign for National Parks argues that developments of this scale cannot be considered in isolation.

Helen Jackson, chief executive for the Campaign group said: “We are very concerned about the threat this mine poses for the North York Moors but this project also has much wider significance. The decisions made will be an important test of the protection afforded to National Parks in the National Planning Policy Framework.

“York Potash is arguing the mine will bring economic benefits yet has completely failed to account for the damage to local tourism. National Park Authority research predicts a 15 per cent reduction in visitors during the four years the mine is built resulting in a loss of more than £40 million per year.”