This email exchange shows that the cost of the abandoned legal proceedings by Natural England against the Walshaw Moor Estate were over £1m of taxpayers’ money. This is your money and you have been given no satisfactory explanation for why the case was dropped when a few months earlier NE had been pursuing the Walshaw Moor Estate for 43 alleged breaches of environmental legislation.
Rumours abound over the size of the HLS agreement that has been agreed with Walshaw Moor Estate.
From: Smyllie, Jim (NE)
Sent: 09 March 2012 17:53
To: Dondi,Arik M (FFG-CCEDAR)
Cc:Arkle,Tanya (ERG-LOR); Mortimer,Robin (ERG)
Subject: RE: RESTRICTED- REGULATORY: Update on the Walshaw Estate
Apologies for sending this a little later than I would have hoped. But I hope it does the job for you.
Total spend in relation to the appeal, the JR and the criminal proceedings
(including expert and legal costs)@ : £1,022,000
This can be broken down as follows:
Legal spend inquiry and JR: £762, 000
Legal spend criminal proceedings: £104, 000
Expert costs at the inquiry: £122, 000
Miscellaneous costs (printing, T &S): £20,000
Aerial photography: £14,000
1. Natural England tried unsuccessfully for several years to have a realistic discussion with the Estate around future management of the Moor including offering support for management via the HLS scheme. These negotiations failed and the Moor was, in Natural England’s opinion deteriorating so badly under the Estate’s management that it felt it had no choice but to take regulatory action and serve a notice modifying the Estate’s existing old, and poorly worded, consent to prevent further damage.
2. It has taken the litigation including a 5 week public inquiry relating to the notice modifying the consent, a threatened judicial review and the instigation of criminal proceedings to allow Natural England to have a productive conversation with the Estate about future management of the Moor.
3. Natural England is satisfied that it has secured a solution which ensures that the Moor, which is a SSSI, SAC and SPA, is now better protected and that there are controls in place relating to the management of the protected habitat.
4. The cost of getting the Estate to the table to negotiate has to be set against the fact the Estate estimated their entitlement in terms of compensation as [section withheld]. The HLS agreement that will underpin future management of the Estate will pay no more than [section withheld] making an overall saving to the public purse (taking out the spend on the proceedings) of potentially [section withheld]·
Happy to offer any further context by email or verbally. Jim
Executive Director, Delivering with Communities
From: Dondi, Arik M (FFG-CCEDAR)
Sent: 08 March 2012 10:57
To: Smyllie, Jim (NE)
Cc: Arkle, Tanya (ERG-LOR); Mortimer, Robin (ERG)
Subject: FW: RESTRICTED- REGULATORY: Update on the Walshaw Estate
Jim- I suppose this was inevitable…
Special advisers are keen to be able to address questions about the cost of the legal proceedings.
Do you have an estimate for a) defending the appeal, b) preparing the prosecution c) defending the Judicial Review?
I guess the justification of the costs will come from NE fulfilling its statutory duty and the benefits of securing environmental protection.
We should treat the cost of the eventual HLS agreement as separate, as it is not just expenditure related to the legal situation, but money that you would seek to spend in the normal course of delivering policy outcomes.