And in case any readers of this blog think that site designations do not matter too much, I hear of a flower-rich meadow which is in the proposed (for a long time) West Pennine Moors Site of Special Scientific Interest that is now destroyed and has a barn built on it.
As a local has written to Blackburn and Darwen unitary authority, ‘Despite the statement that, ‘There are no statutorily protected sites within the vicinity–’, it is my understanding that the [site name] is included within the provisional boundary of the West Pennine Moors SSSI. In the recognition that delays in the designation process have been introduced at a senior level within Natural England; I suggest that Blackburn with Darwen seek an opinion over this matter directly with Natural England, at a national rather than regional level. It does not bode well for that organisation that natural heritage is being lost whilst it deliberates over designation strategies. Surely, it should be a material consideration in determining the planning application that [site name] was potentially to be included within a statutory site.’
There may well be other examples of important habitat being lost while Natural England drags its feet and that is outrageous.
The Chair of Natural England, Andrew Sells, is ‘responsible for leading the organisation and making sure that it fulfills all of its goals’ – fail!
The Chief Executive, James Cross, is responsible for ‘the day to day management of the organisation’ – fail!
The Natural England Board ‘ensures that Natural England fulfils the long term aims of our strategic direction’ and is there to ‘review performance’ – fail!
The Audit and Risk Assurance committee of Natural England exists to ‘advise the Board and Accounting Officer on matters of financial accountability, risk, control, assurance and governance’ – fail!
Perhaps this collection of failed public servants feel that they are doing what George Osborne requires of them as they let our natural heritage be diminished under their watch.