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Plan to be submitted for York potash mine

Controversial plans for the world's biggest potash mine to be sunk in the North York Moors National Park are to be submitted today.

Plan to be submitted for York potash mine Credit: http://www.siriusminerals.com/

The firm behind the £1bn scheme near Whitby, says it would create 1,000 jobs, but critics say it would blight one of the region's finest landscapes and pave the way for other large scale developments in Britain's national parks.

The mine would target the world's largest untapped reserve of polyhalite - a mineral which is used as fertiliser to boost crop yields.

North York Moors National Park officials said today the mine is believed to be the largest ever major development proposal submitted to a National Park Authority in England.

If operating today at full capacity of 13 million tonnes of polyhalite ore per year, it is understood that the mine would be the world’s largest potash mine in terms of the amount of potash extracted.

The plan involves the construction of two 1,500 metre deep mine shafts on land at Dove’s Nest Farm, near Sneaton, four miles south of Whitby.

Also planned is a 250 metre deep tunnel running 23 miles from the mine site to Wilton on Teesside where the extracted mineral would be granulated for export.

The tunnel would have an access shaft at Dove’s Nest Farm and three intermediate access points on the route to Wilton, one within the national park, near Egton, the second just outside the park boundaries near Lockwood Beck Reservoir and the third near Guisborough.

The Authority understands the significance of the proposals and will carefully assess the planning considerations of the development which will include the environmental impacts and economic benefits. We will approach the new application with an open mind and the proposed development will be determined in the context of our local plan policies and government policy which is that major development should not take place in National Parks unless there are exceptional circumstances of public interest. I want to assure people that we will take all relevant considerations into account before reaching any decision.

– Chris France, Director of Planning at the North York Moors National Park Authority
Plan to be submitted for York potash mine Credit: http://www.siriusminerals.com/

We believe we have a compelling planning case that clearly demonstrates that the York Potash Project can deliver exceptional economic benefits, not only locally here in North Yorkshire and in Teesside but also for the wider UK economy.

We have planned the project with a very high regard for the environment and where possible minimising associated impacts. However, it is now for each authority to determine the applications according to the relevant policies and we keenly await their decisions.

– Chris Fraser, managing director Sirius Minerals

A decision on whether to grant the mine permission is expected next year.

Designs for new visitor centre near Spurn Point

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and energy company, E.ON, have announced plans for a new visitor centre near Spurn National Nature Reserve.

Design for new visitor centre

They say the project will enable the Trust to better cater for the needs of visitors to the area and at the same time ensure the fragility of the wildlife and local environment is better conserved.

The Trust is currently appraising a number of locations with the working favourite being on land owned by the Trust that lies between Kilnsea village and the entrance to Spurn National Nature Reserve.

They added that the design approach began with detailed assessments to avoid impacts on wildlife, the landscape and environment, and then reduce and mitigate any that remain.

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Controversial incinerator plans given final approval

North Yorkshire County Council has today given the final go ahead to a controversial £1.4 billion waste incineration scheme.

Thousands of local residents had objected to the scheme

The plant will be built at Allerton Park near Knaresborough.

Councillors voted in favour of the scheme at a special full council meeting at County Hall in Northallerton.

Thousands of local residents had objected to the scheme.

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VIDEO: Forty activists released after blocking coal train

40 protesters detained by police after they stopped and climbed on a coal train in Nottinghamshire have been released.

The Greenpeace activists blocked the 400-metre freight train on sidings leading to Cottam power station for ten hours yesterday after flagging it down using the stopping signals.

A life-size polar bear puppet was used to stop the train from moving.

British Transport Police have confirmed they arrested 3 activists and spoke with 37 others.

A life-size polar bear puppet was used to stop the train from moving. Credit: Greenpeace UK

Decision day in incinerator saga

The long-running saga about plans for a huge incinerator near the A1 in North Yorkshire will come to a head today.

North Yorkshire county Council is meeting to decide whether to approve the proposals. Residents from close to the Allerton Park site are expected to protest outside.

Bob Schofield is from the North Yorkshire Waste Action Group.

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Greenpeace releases photos of train occupation

Greenpeace has released its own photos showing how fifty climate change activists stopped and occupied a freight train delivering 1,500 tonnes of coal to what they claim is one of Britain’s most polluting power stations.

Activists on train Credit: Greenpeace

Their action comes as David Cameron prepares to attend a high-profile climate summit in New York later today.

The activists used industry-standard emergency signals to flag down the 400-metre-long coal train as it was slowing down along rail sidings leading to Cottam power station in Nottinghamshire.

They claim the main coal supply route to the plant, which is run by French energy giant EDF, has now been cut off.

Stopping coal delivery Credit: Greenpeace

Flood-damaged seafarers centre to officially reopen

A centre for seafarers will officially reopen today, nine months after devastating flooding caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused by flooding

The mission needed to have its building completely stripped out after the Immingham docks' defences were breached in the tidal surge last December.

As the tide overtopped the docks, water swept into the centre bringing with it fish, debris and contaminated water.

The centre will be officially opened by a Port Director from Associated British Ports, John Fitzgerald.

ABP provided temporary accommodation so that the mission could continue giving seafarers communication links with their families around the world.

Hull scientist works to safeguard coral reefs

A scientist from The Deep in Hull has arrived back from an expedition to the Caribbean where he has been helping with a project to restore the underwater coral reefs.

The delicate ecosystems are relied upon for fishing and tourism as well as helping to protect coastal areas, but they have been in decline because of disease and hurricanes destroying their habitats.

It is hoped this restoration project will help safeguard large sections of coral as James Webster reports:

Deep Curator: Projects like the coral restoration trip are at the heart of what we do

The curator at The Deep says she hopes one of her aquarists can use the skills he has developed on a recent coral restoration trip to improve what he does looking after coral here. Katy Duke has been explaining how such projects are at the heart of what the Hull-based attraction is all about:

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