First published March 31st 2012

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Article By Vanda Inman First Published 22nd March 2012, Read More From Vanda Here.

north-yorkshire-moors-potashNIMBYism – Guess what, its going on right here, right now and on our door step. Ironically, it is a web of ‘Conservatism’, Borough Council, County Council and Government that both Whitby and Scarborough have been blighted with a new philosophy of “cash it in while we can”. Our Town Hall has a ‘For Sale’ sign, alongside our Futurist Theatre, Manor Road Nursery, SPA Operations, SBC’s Dean Road Depot, Old Registry Office, Hospital site and much more. And, as the spiders weave their web, worse to come is the environmental rape of our North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

Where is Indiana Jones when you need him? There are records of 12,000 archaeological sites and features in the North York Moors National Park, of which 700 are listed ancient monuments. Around the 2,000 BC period, the Germanic Celtics inhabited all areas of the moors, destroyed much of the original forest, exhausted of nutrients, these people moved on, leaving behind land that was incapable of supporting anything but a heathland vegetation and about 3,000 Bronze Age burial mounds. Nowadays, our climate is influenced by the shelter of the worst of the moist westerly winds provided by the Pennines and the proximity of the North Sea. The North York Moors are drained by two main river systems. The northern part being drained by the River Esk its tributaries flowing west to east and emptying its load at Whitby.

2012 is the year that celebrates North Yorkshire Moors having National Park status: The aims and purposes of National Parks are laid out by law. The 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, was enhanced by the Environment Act 1995, setting out two statutory purposes for National Parks in England and Wales:

  • • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage
  • • Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the Public

They also have a responsibility to foster the economic and social well being of local communities within the National Park. But, Whitby and Scarborough lie outside the boundaries of the National Park. The ‘Tourist Gaze’ is drawn to features of landscape and townscape which deviates from everyday experience – our sense of ‘out of the ordinary’.

And so we have it, the land that lies between our two towns was protected and we could sleep easy on the bedrock of inhabiting a place for solitude, peace and earthiness. With nature at its pure best, most beautiful and majestic on our doorstep, whilst enjoying the benefits that Tourism can bring. Indeed, a ‘sense of out of the ordinary’ brings positive tourists too. Indeed the ‘New Lyke Wake Walk Club’ has policies;

  • • reducing moorland erosion.
  • • defining the Lyke Wake Walk as a right-of-way.
  • • marking the Lyke Wake Walk on Ordnance Survey maps.
  • • discouraging excessively large groups on the Lyke Wake Walk.
  • • creating and implementing a programme for path repair and waymarking.

However HISTORY is about to be made, there is an invading, encroaching army with a different set of policies: Sirius Mining, “… our mission to become the world’s New Potash Powerhouse.”

Oh yes, the Americans are definitely coming: the Sirius Minerals Acquisition of York Potash. The Company acquired the entire share capital of York Potash in January 2011 for the issue of 150 million new ordinary shares, which together with an acquired outstanding loan, valued the company at £25.3 million. York Potash has options over a substantial mineral rights portfolio both onshore in North Yorkshire and in the adjacent offshore area underneath the North Sea. Polyhalite is a complex hydrated sulphate mineral (K2SO4.MgSO4.2CaSO4.2H2O), which can be processed into various potassium based fertilisers as well as being a valuable source of magnesium minerals. Although there are currently no commercial scale operations based on polyhalite, extensive research was done into various process routes in the 1930’s and 1940’s. In addition, recently ICL has made patent applications on further process routes focused on potassium nitrate.

Figure 3: Area of Interest

A second coring rig commissioned by the Company’s retained drilling contractor is now complete and undergoing final maintenance and equipment checks. It is envisaged that the rig will be on site around the end of March 2012. The second rig will help to speed up the completion of the York Potash Project drilling programme.

Now I am not a scientist, I am not a geologist and I’m not an expert on Feeding the World. But I gather that this is all about fertiliser. And I seem to remember from my school days that fertiliser was not always a good thing, with GM crops feeding an ever expanding world population, leading to potential world wide crop failures and a starving population, (perhaps leaving 1 in 100?).

It has been estimated that an army of 5000 (mainly men) will be moving in to Scarborough and Whitby, mainly from the USA.

So let us go back to the basics of Tourism. Doxey (1976) Indexed Tourism as:

  • • The Level of Euphoria – the initial thrill and enthusiasm that comes along with Tourism development – means the tourist is made welcome
  • • The Level of Apathy – once development is under way and expansion has taken place the tourist is taken for granted and is now seen as a source of profit taking
  • • The Level of Irritation – as the industry approaches saturation point, the hosts can no longer cope with the number of tourists without additional facilities
  • • Level of Antagonism – the tourist is now seen as the bringer of all ills, hosts are antagonistic towards tourists, and tourists are regarded as there to be exploited
  • • The Final Level – the hosts have forgotten that all they once regarded as being special was exactly what attracted the tourist.

An Environmental Impact Assessment is a process that enables researchers to predict the environmental consequence associated with any proposed development project including detrimental effects to people, flora and fauna, soil, water, air, peace and quiet, landscape, and cultural sites.

Greens (1990) checklist of environmental impacts for The Natural Environment include changes in floral and fauna species, pollution, erosion, depletion of natural resources and visual impact. And, for the Built Environment: visual impact and the growth of the built up area, infrastructure and overloading, roads, car parking, waste disposal, water supply.

Urban Form – changes in residential use, with an emergence of contrasts between urban areas for tourists and those for the host population. Restoration; re-use of disused buildings, restoration and preservation of historic building and design, restoration of derelict buildings as second homes, and finally, Competition – the decline by change of tourist preferences.

Heritage is that which is inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations. Of interest here is our Natural Heritage, fauna & flora, geology, landscape and landform. Our Cultural Heritage being physical artefacts with intangible attributes that belong to a group or society and are man made.

Meanwhile, our most scenic 30-minute arteries twixt Whitby and Scarborough, in daytime, forest and moors and a panoramic skyline; at night, a haven for stargazers, mystery seekers and romantics alike, has already gone. And all we can do is stand and watch, are we to be Tourists?

From :

New global agreements now give sovereign national rights over biological resources (not property). The idea of static conservation of biodiversity is disappearing and being replaced by the idea of dynamic conservation, through the notion of resource and innovation. The new agreements commit countries to conserve biodiversity, develop resources for sustainability and share the benefits resulting from their use. Under new rules, it is expected that bioprospecting or collection of natural products has to be allowed by the biodiversity-rich country, in exchange for a share of the benefits.
The 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention established that biological resources, such as plants, were the common heritage of mankind or as was expressed in the preamble: “need to be preserved as part of the world heritage of mankind as a whole.”

And so, we think we are ‘top of the food chain’, perhaps not for long.

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