New planning policies to protect areas of outstanding national beauty and National Parks from the 'frackers' (unconventional shale gas) have been welcomed by Chris France, Director of Planning at NYMNPA. According to the Yorkshire Post: " other than in “exceptional circumstances and in the public interest”. ... "The latest round of drilling licences includes .... the North York Moors ... But the North York Moors National Park Authority said it had received no expressions of interest from the energy industry, and bosses said they were heartened by the Government’s rules: Chris France, director of planning, said: “We welcome the Government’s acknowledgement that national parks are special. This is also an acknowledgement that fracking falls into the category of ‘major development’ as set out within the National Planning Policy Framework, which says that this sort of development - much like mineral extraction or power stations - should be refused in national parks or AONBs unless there are exceptional circumstances and if development can take place outside of national parks and AONBs then it should do." The article then goes on to say that Pickles (secretary of State) can overturn any decision made. http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/rural/environment/loophole-danger-of....
But, what exactly is Chris France saying here? We know there have been two applications for conventional gas extraction at Westerdale and Ebberston Moor. Also the DECC consultation document report is a necessary part of a process of strategic environmental assessment (SEA). see here https://econsultation.decc.gov.uk/decc-policy/consultation-env-report-fu... We also understand from Igas that 'fracking' is part of the exploration process: (stage 1)
Along with the Joint Minerals & Waste Plan that is due to be completed in January 2015 the planning for development within and around our North York Moors National Park is clearly becoming rather obstropulous and as Chris France said at Raven Hall - policies are only words and these words are open to interpretation. (in relation to the MDT test) (Major Development Test)
Back to the Yorkshire Post: " - much like mineral extraction or power stations - " Anyhow to get to the point I though It prudent to ask Chris France direct as follows:
30 July 2014 08:53 - Hello Chris and Mark, At the presentation given at Raven Hall, Mark Hill suggested that you would have expected York Potash to carry out further investigation works at the Whitby Enclave. Please would you confirm what exactly your position is regarding the Whitby Enclave and whether or not you have asked York Potash to drill more bore holes or whatever. Have you accepted that Doves Nest is the only viable siting for the minehead or not? Please also confirm the current status of the MDT test, if possible. Best Regards
Well, almost, I referred back to Chris France the report prepared on Housing needs in and around Whitby, and just for further measure asked if a draft planning application was to be submitted on the 31st -
And : There is no such thing as a ‘draft planning application’. We are expecting the planning application to be submitted at the end of September. The recent Member update report which was considered at last week’s Planning Committee may be helpful – and I have included a link to this on our web site for you.
Thank you Chris France, protector of the Park !!
I must say, that by protecting the Park from Major Developments in the past, say like Boulby who dumped toxic waste into the North Sea for over 30 years, (and are still alleged to be doing so!!) that perhaps with new design and new technologies the Park may become quite precious if not priceless, is that a proclaimation or just being pretentious?
Of course there could be no fracking allowed within the Zone of Interest of a Potash Mine because of the health & hazaards relating to the working environment within a mine. Apart from which all those boreholes, seismic surveys and geological fault line tracings that have been used to prove the polyhalite resource (potash) would also have clearly idenitifed where any gas and oil fields lay, and that data and information belongs to Sirius Minerals. They own it. So the question remains would a Potash Mine protect the Park from 'fracking'?
IMHO the quagmire of planning policies regs plans etc all come back to people, say 'Pickles', the price of jam and or other pretenders.