Natural England is taking forward the West Pennine Moors for SSSI notification in the coming financial year. Hooray! It’s obviously not a done-deal, just an almost done-deal, but it is the freeing up of a log jam that never should have happened.
This is very pleasing news and the next time i see someone senior from Natural England I might have to buy them lunch!
Well done NE – I still wonder whether you are fit for purpose but at least this shows that you aren’t totally unfit.
Also well done to all those locals who have been collecting data on Sphagnum mosses, breeding birds and other wildlife for years – and years – to make the case that was well-made years ago, and have then persevered with writing letters, sending emails, and having meetings in order to progress the case satisfactorily.
And well done to the local MP, Jake Berry (Rossendale and Darwen, Con), who has been very active and supportive too. Well done, him!
And well done to others who have done things about which I know nothing in order to help this come to pass – whoever you are, and whatever you did, well done to you too.
It’s all in the past now (almost) but if you want to read previous blogs on the West Pennine Moors see Natural England seem to have forgotten the West Pennine moors, 2 April 2015; West Pennine Moors, 12 June 2015; West Pennine Moors Again, 22 June 2015; Dear Natural England, 22 June 2015; Fair do’s, 22 June 2015; Gate Zero and the West Pennine Moors, 21 September 2015; What the frack? West Pennine Moors, 28 September 2015; A barn of special scientific interest? West Pennine Moors, 28 September 2015; West Pennine Moors complaint to NE over their response, 28 September 2015; Gate Zero and the West Pennine Moors, 5 October 2015.
So there is good news! Hooray!
But there is also, of course, a list of uncertainties and worries.
No site is protected until it is protected – and the West Pennine Moors are simply heading for protection, they haven’t yet got it. Have a sparkling white, but keep the champagne on ice for a while.
Protected sites need their protection to be implemented, and that remains to be seen.
But more generally, the fact that we kicked up a fuss about this site has certainly helped its cause, but that may be to the detriment of other sites. I am still concerned at the Gate Zero process and the possibility that some equally deserving sites haven’t made the cut.
But for now – celebrate because something good is happening.