HL Deb 01 February 1978 vol 388 cc848-50WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

  1. (i) Whether Whitby is in the Northumberland National Park;
  2. (ii) What is the height of Whitby Abbey;
  3. (iii) Whether a potash refinery is planned on or near Broomfield Farm;
  4. (iv) What are the dimensions and relative height of any proposed buildings and storage tanks;
  5. (v) How far would they be from the Abbey;
  6. (vi) What is the acreage allocated to the complex and what height the chimney;
  7. (vii) What are the present main bases of the economy of Whitby;
  8. (viii) How and by what routes will waste be disposed and
  9. (ix) What other subsidiary sites are proposed within the National Park.

Baroness BIRK

This Question presumably relates to the application by Whitby Potash Limited to extract potash by a solution mining method from land underlying the North Yorkshire Moors National Park in the vicinity of Whitby and to erect a refinery in Whitby itself which is not in the National Park. Planning permission for this development was refused by the National Park Committee and the company has appealed to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment against the refusal. An inquiry into the appeal is due to commence on 7th February.

The answers to the noble Lord's specific points are:

  1. (i) Whitby is not in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park but it does abut the Park.
  2. (ii) The highest point of the Abbey is some 85 ft. above ground level.
  3. (iii) Yes—the site at which the company wish to develop the refinery is at Broomfield Farm.
  4. (iv) The company's pre-inquiry statement shows the following details:
  5. Building Height Ground Area
    Administration Block 12 storeys 135 ft. × 43 ft.
    Staff Block single storey 6,000 sq. ft.
    Laboratory 16 ft. 3,600 sq. ft.
    Process Building 100 ft. 22,000 sq. ft.
    Loading Tower 135 ft. 3,600 sq. ft.
    Storage Building 85 ft. 116,800 sq. ft.
    3 substations and one pumphouse not given 1,075 sq. ft. total
  6. (v) Approximately 1½ miles.
  7. (vi) The pre-inquiry statement refers to the total development occupying 67 acres of the 84 acre site and to the height of the chimney as a maximum of 265 ft.
  8. (vii) Whitby is an old-established seaport, fishing town and holiday resort. There is a light industrial estate in the South-East of the town. The North Yorkshire County Council in their pre-inquiry statement say that there has been an increase in the number of jobs available in the Whitby employment exchange area in the past 10 years and that the main increases have been in manufacturing industry, agriculture, forestry and fishing and in female employment in service industries.
  9. (viii) The company state that it is proposed to use fluid waste for filling completed underground cavities and to 850 move solid waste salt by rail to the West side of Whitby harbour where a berth can be provided for a vessel specially designed to dispose of the waste at sea.
  10. (ix) The pre-inquiry statement refers to a pumphouse 25 ft. high × 60 ft. wide × 165 ft. long on a site of some 4 acres at Egton Low Moor. There is also reference to the erection at the same site of eight tanks, five of which are proposed to be 25 ft. high, two about 14 ft. high and one 8 ft. high. The statement also refers to 9 × 2 acre sites in various places in the National Park above the area to be mined, each containing four sunken wellheads and a small control building of 15 ft. × 20 ft. partly sunk into the ground so as to project by 6 ft. only.
I am sending the noble Lord copies of the pre-inquiry statements mace by the company at the Secretary of State's request and by the North Yorkshire County Council.