The Park, Protection, Potash & Proclaimers

Mortal Mindy's picture

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.

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 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

Dear Xxxxx,
Our negotiations and pre-application discussions with YPL have included detailed advice on all the elements of the ‘Major Development Test’ which is Government Policy set out in paragraph 116 of the National Planning Policy Framework. An important part of this policy is that the Government expects major development proposals which would be incompatible with National Park purposes to be sited outside of these designated areas if that was technically, financially and practically possible. We have therefore advised YPL that they need to thoroughly and rigorously assess the potential for the Mine to be located outside the National Park. To date, we do not think that the case they have put forward for not locating the Mine in the ‘Whitby enclave’ meets the policy requirement. Currently, this focusses on the presence of what is described as significant faulting which would need to be crossed to access further reserves of polyhalite which lie to the south of this fault, although some reserves of Polyhalite could potentially be extracted before there was a need to cross the faulting system.
Currently, the Authority’s technical advisers are awaiting further comments from YPL on this matter following their assessment of the case put forward so this part of the policy criteria is still being discussed. The Authority’s advisers have agreed that none of the other potential sites looked at beyond the National Park boundary are likely to be feasible for a number of technical and financial reasons.
I hope this adequately answers your queries.

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.  



Mortal Mindy's picture

On the Offensive

Why put 'defensive' measures in place?

"Ministers will give the go-ahead on Monday for a big expansion of fracking across Britain that will allow drilling in national parks and other protected areas in "exceptional circumstances".

The government will invite firms to bid for onshore oil and gas licences for the first time in six years, with about half of the country advertised for exploration. Ministers are also clarifying the rules on when drilling can take place in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) and world heritage sites, following calls by environmental campaigners for an outright ban on drilling in them.

In a tightening of the guidance, the government will ask energy firms to submit an environmental statement that is "particularly comprehensive and detailed" if they want to frack on or near protected countryside, forcing them to demonstrate their understanding of local sensitivities. It will make clear that the applications "should be refused in these areas other than in exceptional circumstances and in the public interest".



Mortal Mindy's picture

Fracking at Ebberston Moor?

Third Energy (formally Viking Gas) get the wind up the Yorkshire Frack Free campaigners by proposals to " to get rid of a vast amount of potentially radioactive waste water – that will come up with the gas – by pumping it back into the ground." according to the Independent: ;-)


Mortal Mindy's picture

Frack Free spin or is it just adding up ...

but the NYMNPA did approve the application so I don't get this latest round up unless of course they are referring to the Minerals & Waste Joint Plan where it was pointed out that Yorkshire Water wern't too happy ... but that was a while ago, oh well :

looks like the NYMNPA could do with a little spin, eh?

best not mention snakes in the grass, :-)

or affordable housing:

Mortal Mindy's picture

Oryide - CPRE a conflict of interests?

Yorkshire Post @

as revealed by Ian Crane at the FrackOff/Rath -lin meeting the CPRE Chairman of Northamptonshire is also the CEO of Rathlin Energy see here:

and CPRE Northampton : scroll down to West Northants CPRE :

and David Montagu-Smith is also actively lobbying against renewable energy : his director check is here:

But, he lacks 'warmth & depth'! - IMO the CPRE have lost all credibility .... O'dryide indeed :-)