Steve Downing, Chairman of Calderdale Raptor Study Group said,
“At the beginning of August 2010 I visited Walshaw Estate with a friend looking for merlin, short-eared owls and hobby. Whilst we were there we noticed that a stream appeared to have been diverted and converted into a vehicle track, a separate track on another part of the Estate had been significantly extended and surfaced, the main stream through the clough appeared to have been re-enforced and a large number of new wooden shooting butts had been installed at several locations across the Estate. This Estate, in the South Pennine SPA, forms part of the local SSSI and we raised concerns with Natural England that these changes to the landscape could be ‘Operations likely to damage the SSSI’.”
“I now understand from NE that the prosecution case in relation to the potentially damaging changes to the SSSI has also been abandoned as part of the new management agreement. Why?”
The Calderdale Raptor Study Group, many Natural England staff and some in the wider conservation community also await Natural England’s and Defra’s response to this question.