PLANNERS say resubmitting documents for a proposed potash mine in the North York Moors will place considerable financial strain on the national park.

Plans to build a £1.5bn potash mine in a national park at Sneaton, near Whitby, were due to be examined in July, but it was deferred for a third time when Sirius Minerals asked for more time to address environmental concerns.

York Potash has now announced it has adopted a “new approach” to its planning application, to ensure environmental information for all aspects of the project will be available at the same time.

It intends to submit the information to the North York Moors park authority in summer 2014.

The information will now mean data on the mine, the pipeline to transport the mineral from the mine to Teesside and the processing and port facilities on the North-East coast will now be available simultaneously.

The information will have to be processed by the authority, which anticipates it will be in a position to make a decision in December next year.

But director of planning for the park authority, Chris France, says this will place a great financial burden on the park.

He says they have already spent £500,000 over the past 12 months on processing the plans, covering consultation fees, legal fees and other associated costs. He says it was a large proportion of the park’s £5m annual budget and has already required them to dip into their reserves.

“We can’t dig into our reserves again to start from scratch,” he said.

“We have an annual budget of £5m a year for the national park budget and just dealing with this one application cost us half a million pounds. That’s a significant part of our budget.

“It’s a source of frustration from our point of view, when we were in a situation to make a decision this year, in a time frame we’d all agreed.”

External affairs director for Sirius Minerals, Gareth Edmunds, said the extra work was necessary to remove any doubt about the environmental impact.

He said: “We’re responding to what they’ve effectively asked us to do. The report they produced raised concerns about various environmental issues. How much they spend is a matter for them.

"We pay an application fee and they decide how much extra money they spend to scrutinise an application. It’s a project that could last 50, to 100 years; it’s worth waiting a few extra months.”

Chris Fraser, managing director and chief executive of Sirius, the company behind York Potash, said the new information would leave “little room for debate over the high level of environmental standards” the company was adopting.