Retribution?

Tues 21 April CopyAs Longfellow wrote in his poem Retribution:

Though the mills of God grind slowly;
Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting,
With exactness grinds He all.

And maybe the same is true of the Rural Payments Agency who replied to me on my enquiry into how they are getting on with the Stody Estate case and potential breaches of cross-compliance regulations.

 

They say:

Thank you for your email dated 20/04/2015 regarding what progress has been made on the Stody Estate case.
 
As investigation (sic) are ongoing we are unable to provide an update at this time. The relevant team dealing with this matter will contact you directly with a response to your enquiry.

 

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3 Replies to “Retribution?”

  1. As I have said elsewhere, the family who own the Stody Estate include past presidents of the CLA and Royal Agricultural Society. It is therefore unreasonable to presume this was some poorly run joint whose people were not sufficiently skilled or resourced to be aware of their cross compliance and employment liabilities.

    They have previously offered themselves as a LEAF demonstration farm (personally I always felt there was something flaky about LEAF, but put that down to me being more radical than most in the sustainable land management sector).

    The RPA's line here is extremely inconsistent. My understanding is that the RPA treated another case of a buzzard poisoning in the Peak District carried out by the employee of a tenant of the National Trust, as an intentional breach of Cross Compliance by the National Trust - until they realised that this line would not stand up in court.

    It is interesting to note that the RPA let themselves be very inconsistent in enforcing Cross Compliance, even though there is precisely zero inconsistency allowed on the land manager they have chosen to bully.

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    1. David - as they say, the investigation is ongoing. Let's wait and see what happens - I think RPA know that there are several people who will pay attention to what happens here.

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      1. I hope you are right Mark, but it is 7 months since the court convicted Allen Lambert for the poisoning he carried out 2 years ago. I am not very clear how much further investigation is in fact needed. The case proved beyond reasonable doubt an intentional breach of SMR1 and SMR9 occurred, even though only a "balance of probabilities" measure is required. According to the RPA's owns very clearly laid out rules, this will mean a minimum penalty of 15% of the SFP, and potentially as much as 100%. I can recognise they might need to take further legal advice on where between 15% and 100% the penalty should fall, and how many year's claw back they should claim, but there is nothing further that needs investigating. I fear this is just a fob off from an agency so powerful even its own ministers are scared of it.

        As you have observed, government website is now useless for infor (how convenient!) Cross Compliance verifiable standards for 2013 are here however http://adlib.everysite.co.uk/adlib/defra/content.aspx?id=2RRVTHNXTS.8RP0AZ62R6F7C

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