A CONTROVERSIAL gas plant which could be built between Scarborough and Pickering has been branded “plain ugly” by legal chiefs battling to stop the development.
A public inquiry into the £50 million Ryedale Gas Project, earmarked for Hurrell Lane in Thornton-le-Dale, got under way yesterday, with experts criticising the plans as “ completely alien” and extremely detrimental to the countryside.
The inquiry, at North York Moors National Park Authority’s Helmsley base, heard from Sasha White, representing North Yorkshire County Council.
He said: “This will represent a significant infrastructure project on land which will be covered by industrial paraphernalia and objects completely alien in a countryside setting. Frankly, the development is just plain ugly.
“One can dress it up in all sorts of words and descriptions but it will look like what it is - a collection of metal containers, pipes, units and buildings which are completely incongruous on the edge of a national park.
Mr White also raised fears the proposals could set a precedent to pave the way for more developments of a similar ilk.
He added: “What is said is that the well site will produce 283,286 standard cubic metres per day of gas.
“The processing facility has a capacity of processing up to 1.1 million standard cubic metres per day.
“Why are they seeking to build a facility with a capacity almost four times greater than that which will be provided? It is a mystery.”
However, Michael Humphries QC, representing Moorland Energy, said: “The Ryedale Gas Project is exactly the type of development that the Government is trying to encourage to kick start the economy.
“This comes at a time of very real stress in the energy market and it just so happens that beneath the North Yorkshire Moors National Park there are substantial natural gas reserves.
“Despite concerns, the impacts are very modest.
“Neither the Ebberston south well site nor the pipeline to the gas processing facility would have a significant effect on the character of the National Park.”
The inquiry is expected to last for 12 days and will include an evening session in Thornton-le-Dale Village Hall on Tuesday, November 1, from 7pm.