MoD set to remove objection to mine

The York Potash project at Dove's Nest Farm, Sneaton. w131710a
The York Potash project at Dove's Nest Farm, Sneaton. w131710a

The Ministry of Defence is due to remove its objection to the proposed potash mine near Scarborough following a planning agreement with the firm behind the £1 billion scheme.

The MoD had raised concerns the mine could lead to subsidence which would play havoc with monitoring equipment at the nearby RAF Fylingdales.

The radar base situated on the moors is on the front-line of the war on terror.

But following talks, Sirius Minerals has drawn up detailed planning conditions which have now been submitted to the North York Moors National Park Authority.

They will allow for an ongoing programme of monitoring to ensure there is no impact on the vital facility.

The MoD intends to agree these conditions ahead of a decision on the mining application, which is due to be considered by the authority’s planning committee on July 2.

Chris Fraser, managing director and CEO of Sirius, said: “We welcome the MoD’s intention to remove the objection following the submission of extra technical information showing that RAF Fylingdales will not be affected by the York Potash Project impact. Planning conditions are a sensible way to ensure important consultees are given comfort on our ongoing commitment to the issues they raise, without incurring unnecessary delays.”

A decision was originally due to be made last week, but senior officials at the national park authority admitted there were a series of unanswered questions surrounding the application which was submitted at the start of February.

Key consultees, including the Environment Agency and Natural England, as well as the authority itself, have all requested more detail on the proposed mining operation.

However, directors at Sirius were adamant they had the required data and information to allay the concerns.

The firm has claimed the mine, which is earmarked for a site near Sneaton, is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs and a further 4,000 jobs in the wider economy. Exploratory drilling work has pinpointed one of the world’s most extensive seams of potash, a key component in fertiliser to boost crop yields and satiate global food demand.