More interesting reading from the latest Issue of Private Eye under Rotten Boroughs:
“MOOR THE MERRIER – Tricky conflict of interest situations for the planning committee of North York Moors national park authority as it considers plans for the world’s biggest potash mine.
Mining company Sirius Minerals say locals will be happy to have the UK’s largest mine on their doorstep. Some certainly will. More than £ 1bn will be shared among some 300 landowners for the rights to extract minerals for fertiliser. Before the bonanza, however, plans must get through the North York Moors planning committee.
Chairman Tim Lawn and member Helen Swiers, both councillors, could each eventually earn £ 2.5m , if the plans are passed. Lawn owns farms and land around the village of Sneaton near the mine entrance. He tells the Eye “I am aware of the duty of the park authority to promote and maintain high standards of conduct by members and I do all I can to ensure high standards are maintained … I do not take part in any matters associated with the potash application … I have declared my interests.”
Indeed. According to minutes, Cllrs Swiers and Lawn have left planning committee meetings when the mine has been discussed. A single park office door provides a forbidding Chinese wall for Cllr Lawn, who stands to make millions if his fellow members pass the plans. What are the odds? Since 1997 he has had 11 planning applications approved and only one refused by the planning committee he currently chairs.”
PRIVATE EYE, FEB 2013