to: Dave Webster
Interim Chief Executive, Natural England
Dear Mr Webster
I am writing to you concerning the Natural England decision to reach an agreement with the Walshaw Moor Estate over their past, present and future management of moorland and blanket bog.
I believe that this enquiry falls under the remit of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, but in any case I am asking about a matter of public interest given that the protection of our natural environment, legal case law, public expenditure through agri-environment schemes and precedents over the management of a large part of the English uplands may all be influenced by NE’s position on this matter. I would therefore be grateful for a full reply within 20 days of this letter.
Please let me know:
- since September 2011, how many meetings between NE and Defra have in part or in whole concerned the management of the Walshaw Moor Estate?
- since September 2011, how many telephone conversations between NE and Defra have in part or in whole concerned the management of the Walshaw Moor Estate?
- since September 2011, how many emails between NE and Defra have in part or in whole concerned the management of the Walshaw Moor Estate?
- since September 2011, how many letters between NE and Defra have in part or in whole concerned the management of the Walshaw Moor Estate?
- for all of the above meetings, telephone conversations, letters or emails, have Defra given NE guidance as to how this case should be settled and what was the nature of that advice?
- in particular, did you meet [name of civil servant] in around February 2012 and gain the impression that NE’s relationship with land managers in the English uplands was seen by Defra as being sufficiently poor that this might influence NE’s future position after the upcoming triennial review? Please give an account of that meeting if it did indeed take place.
- what prosecutions were being taken by Natural England concerning damage to protected habitats at Walshaw Moor, what were the details of these cases and why were they dropped? Has any damage to the moorland habitat, if such there were, been put right or is there a plan for this being done?
For the purpose of this enquiry please take NE to mean NE staff, Board members (including your Chairman) and any other people who represent NE, and take Defra to mean Defra civil servants, any other employees and Ministers of Defra.