Construction of the new Woodsmith Mine has made substantial progress. At the main mine site, near Sneatonthorpe, shaft sinking has started in one of the two main shafts and is now at a depth below 118 metres. Preparation works are also taking place on the second main shaft. As the shafts are excavated, the screening mounds around the site will be extended to help reduce the visual impact of the mine on the landscape.
Meanwhile, the new tunnel linking the mine with processing facilities at Teesside has reached nearly halfway between Wilton and the Woodsmith site. Along the route of the tunnel, two new surface access and ventilation shafts are being built. Shaft sinking at one of these, located just outside the National Park near Lockwood Beck reservoir, is complete and preparation works have just started at Ladycross Plantation, near Egton, with shaft sinking due to start in 2022. Across the whole project, around 1,300 people are now employed.
The National Park Authority’s role in monitoring the impacts of this very large development continues, as does our work on delivering off-site ‘Section 106’ projects to offset the impacts of the mine on the National Park. The projects fall into three main categories and are delivered right across the National Park.
The first is Woodland Creation to help offset carbon emissions of the mine’s development and operation. The second is Landscape and Ecology projects to compensate for the impacts on the landscape, including improvements to natural habitats, tranquillity, rights of way, historic buildings and traditional boundaries. Finally, Tourism delivers campaigns at regional, national and international level as well as offering small business grants, to promote the North York Moors and help offset the impact the development may have on how visitors perceive the National Park.
The s106 contributions for these projects will continue for the planned life of the mine allowing us to deliver many long term projects which benefit residents, visitors and businesses, and allow us to work with landowners and large organisations to generate even wider reaching improvements.
So far, as part of the Woodland Creation scheme. over 100 hectares of woodland has been created which equates to over 100,000 trees planted. Within the Landscape and Ecology category, over 100 projects have been delivered including 6km of traditional boundaries repaired or created, 140 hectares of woodland management, including conversion from conifer plantation to broadleaf, 48 degraded historic structures protected or restored and over 20km of public rights of way enhanced for a wider range of users.
On the Tourism side, 24 tourism business have been supported with grants while a major domestic marketing campaign, Time for You, has been delivered by the Authority's Marketing Team. Partnership work also continues with Visit York, building on previous 'two centre break' campaigns focused on regional and the London visitor looking for a city break combined with adventure/nature and the outdoors. Travel restrictions have hindered VisitEngland's activity in Germany and the Netherlands, but they continue to build relationships with the travel trade. The North York Moors is also the pilot destination for an accessibility project to develop and promote a high quality accessible tourism itinerary, bookable in Germany and/or the Netherlands, part of the Tourism Recovery Plan's ambition to make the UK the most accessible tourism destination in Europe by 2025.
More recently a Dark Skies Friendly lighting scheme has been launched to provide grants to upgrade to the latest shielded LED technology. The aim is to reduce energy usage and light pollution in order to protect wildlife and habitats, as well as helping develop astro-tourism benefits for the local rural economy. The scheme will work with local organisations to target larger businesses and groups of properties including farms, stables, visitor centres and accommodation providers. For more information on any of the above, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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