North York Moors park chiefs agree to third potash mine decision delay

Artist's impression of the North York Moors potash mine facility The mine would be located on farmland south of Whitby

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Park chiefs have agreed to delay their decision on an application for a potash mine in North Yorkshire for a third time after a request from developers.

Sirius Minerals asked the North York Moors National Park Authority to defer the matter to give it more time to address "environmental queries".

The authority had been due to publish a planning committee report later regarding the site near Whitby.

However, it said it had "reluctantly" agreed to postpone its decision.

In a statement released on its website Chris Fraser, Sirius' managing director and CEO, said while a deferral would be "frustrating" to supporters, the company had to ensure the national park was able to make a "robust decision on the application".

He said it was important that all "key statutory agencies are comfortable with the extensive environmental information and commitments that we have provided".

"Addressing these issues will further strengthen the application and make for a better project," he added.

A North York Moors National Park Authority spokeswoman said: "At the request of York Potash [Sirius] the North York Moors National Park Authority has today agreed reluctantly to defer for a third time consideration of York Potash's planning application."

She said the authority regretted the "continued uncertainty" caused to local communities by the delay, adding the deferral would be both disruptive and costly.

A new date for determination has not been fixed.

Under the proposals Sirius hopes to build a minehead and two 27-mile (44km) underground pipelines.

Planning approval for the minehead will be decided by the National Park Authority with members due to vote on the application on 29 July.

Permission for the pipeline is being considered by the National Infrastructure Directorate.

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