York & North Yorkshire

Whitby potash mine could cost tourism industry £10m a year

Proposed potash mine near Whitby Image copyright Sirius Minerals
Image caption An artist's impression of the proposed potash mine near Whitby

A billion-pound potash mine proposed for near Whitby would cost the local tourism industry £10m a year during construction, a study has claimed.

The North York Moors National Park commissioned report has looked at the impact of the nearly five-year construction of the site.

Developers Sirius Minerals claimed the mine would create 1,000 direct jobs.

The park authority will make a decision on whether to grant permission for the mine at a meeting on 30 June.

Company to contribute

Even after completion of the York Potash Project, consultants Amec Foster Wheeler believe it could cost a further £5m a year to the tourism industry.

The tourism sector is of key importance to the economy of the National Park and of Whitby, bringing in £177m - £104m of it to Whitby - in 2013, according to a separate report.

But a spokesman from York Potash said the company had already committed to contribute £500,000 a year during construction.

He said this would be split between Welcome to Yorkshire, the North York Moors National Park Authority, Visit England and Visit Britain, and was predicted to generate a return of £60.3m over the construction period.

York Potash said it would also double train services between Whitby and Middlesbrough, and give £400,000 for directional signage to the North York Moors National Park from main roads nearby.

'Legitimate concern'

Amec Foster Wheeler raised particular concerns about the volume of HGV traffic on the area's roads as a result of the mine.

The report said there was a "legitimate concern" that visitors may choose to go elsewhere if they know there is a major construction site.

Potash is a salt which contains potassium and is usually used in fertilisers.

Councillors at Redcar and Cleveland Council have already approved plans for the mine and mineral transport system but Sirius Minerals - which owns York Potash - still needs permission from the national park.

A tunnel planned to run underground from the Doves Nest Farm site to a processing plant at Teesside would be 37km long.

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